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Montgomery Blair High School SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND

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October 5, 2012

2012 National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Finalist VOL 75 NO 1

Party for politics

County black students achieve highest grad rates in country By Langston Cotman

CLARE LEFEBURE

DEMOCRATS Supporters gathered to raise money for the Obama campaign. Left, Blazers watch speakers from the lawn. Right, Senator Jamie Raskin adresses guests.

Montgomery County Public Schools released a public announcement on September 19 stating that Montgomery County has the highest graduation rate among African American males when compared to the nation’s largest school districts. In the Schott Foundation for Public Education report The Urgency of Now Montgomery County was accredited with having a 74 percent graduation rate, tying with the Newark, New Jersey school district for the highest rate of all districts reviewed in the study. According to the report, Montgomery County’s rate is significantly higher than Maryland’s overall African American

see Grad Rates page A3

Increasing understanding, alleviating fear By Hannah Wientraub “THIS IS AMERICA!” The outside walls of the Harrisburg Islamic center broadcasted this graffitied warning after vandals defaced the Virginian mosque on September 14. Images of the spray-painted obscenities joined the pictures of the recently incinerated Missouri mosque. Shots of the building’s charred bricks and ashen wood spread through the news like the fires that burned the structure to the ground in

August. “TERRORIST!” Muslim freshman Nazia Khan’s friends yelled the biting word at her in an attempt to make a joke and poke fun. What seemed like innocent teasing to her friends was instead painful for Khan to hear. “I felt like I was bullied,” she says. When the Twin Towers crumbled into the New York City streets, they brought America’s Muslim relations with them, according to FBI hate crime data. Directly after 9/11,

the percent of hate crimes against Muslims rose from less than one percent of all religious hate crimes in 2000 to ten percent in 2002, according to FBI reports on hate crimes. That number has only continued to rise, currently clocking in at 13.2 percent according to the 2010 FBI report on hate crimes. “Today, we can estimate that there will be about one mosque vandalized a month,” says

see Islamophobia page C5

SGA plans first Mental Health Awareness Week By Katelin Montgomery This week, the SGA is hosting Mental Health Awareness Week. Junior Amalia Perez, who is in charge of planning the week, said that a National “Mental Illness Awareness Week”, created by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) inspired the event. Although the SGA’s version is not officially affiliated with the national one, the goal remains the same: increasing awareness of mental health issues. Perez said that one of the main events

of the week will be a panel discussion with professionals and family member of those affected by mental illnesses. At the panel, speakers will share stories and answer audience questions. Other activities will include small group sessions where students can talk and ask questions, and an open mic night with an art gallery containing submissions inspired by mental health issues. SGA President Patrice-Morgan Ongoly explained that students go through a variety of issues ranging from their workload to problems at home and he believes that the SGA should address these concerns.

A morning at the market

“We, as representatives of the students and people that are supposed to enable community and address community issues, feel that it’s important to highlight mental health issues in our students and really get the word out that these things do exist and they can be addressed,” he ELLIE MUSGRAVE said. SGA Senior president Irene Ravitz The inspiration for the event also has

see Mental health page A2

helped Perez to plan tmental health awareness event.

Technology update proposed by Starr $14.5 million to be spent in the upcoming 2013-2014 school year By Michelle Chavez

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FAIRFEST Locals walk the streets of Silver Spring on Saturday at the South Silver Spring Festival, enjoying food, shopping and fun with friends and family.

Superintendant Joshua Starr proposed $14.5 million in technology modernization of the county’s schools for fiscal year (FY) 2013 to BOE members on Sept 11. The proposal stems from what Starr believes will help the county meet the Common Core State Curriculum Standards. According to Starr’s memorandum, the upgrade is designed to expand the technological improvement, which is already in place in some schools, to all schools. This includes the purchase of Promethean boards for 2000 elementary school classrooms and wireless Internet access for 101 elementary schools and 14 high schools. Starr believes it is time for MCPS to move toward a completely digital teaching practice. “MCPS has begun to create learning environments that integrate robust wireless networks to facilitate differentiated and personalized learning using mobile computing devices and interactive whiteboard technologies. These will allow

teachers to integrate digital instructional resources and enable students to be collaborative learners,” he said. Peter Hammond, Blair’s information technology systems specialist, said the tech proposal possibly entails Wi-Fi access for Blair. Junior Daniel Amir, a Blair system operator, said there are currently certain Wi-Fi spots throughout the building despite no formal wireless connection. “We have several Wi-Fi access points in the school but they’re not all connected,” he said. Hammond explained that the proposal would significantly overpower the current presence of the unsystematic wireless networks that have never been fully shut down. “There have been some smallscale projects but nothing very significant or widespread. This new proposal seams like it will be significantly widespread,” he said.

see Technology page A5

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October 5, 2012

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News SGA Plans Mental Health Awareness Week from Mental Health page A1

By Michelle Chavez

ELLIE MUSGRAVE

SGA Seniors Lidya Mesgma and Gabriela Cruz discuss the methods in which they plan to increase awareness of mental health issues at Blair. Harvey, who suggested the event to the SGA, serves on the board of NAMI Maryland and Family Services, and teaches a class called “Family to Family” for the family members or loved ones of the mentally ill. She started learning about mental health after relative of hers was diagnosed with a mental illness. Harvey wants this event to inspire other students who might be suffering to get some help and to help the community be understanding. “I hope this will make students aware of how they can be supportive of friends who are having symptoms and experiencing mental health issues,” she said. Harvey stresses the importance of ad-

Kathleen Greene steps in as new head of security

dressing mental health issues as soon as possible. “The sooner students get help with mental health issues, the better the long term outcome,” she said. Even though there is a stigma surrounding mental health, it is important that it be treated as seriously as other medical issues. Harvey said, “If a child has diabetes, they take insulin, if they have depression, they may need to take some medication…. It’s a brain chemistry problem, not a character problem, not a personality problem.” The SGA hope that students learn from the week that it is okay to get help if they are going through mental health problems and to know that they are not alone.

curity team are enforcing disciplinary acKathleen Greene, former Lee Middle tions as necessary. A first offense for leavSchool security assistant, was appointed ing campus results in lunch detention, a Blair’s head of security, replacing Ce- second offense results in an in-school susdric Boatman who was promoted by the pension and a third immediately leads to out-of-school suspension with a parent county after more than 10 years at Blair. While Boatman works as the Cluster phone call. Greene said that she sees each Security Coordinator for MCPS’s De- of these disciplinary actions as necessary to improve safety. partment of School Greene said Safety and Secua security assessrity, Greene has acment done last cepted the newly year revealed that available security many students, position. Greene 19.8% according to said she believes the assessment reher depth of expersults on the MCPS tise in the juvenile website, do not feel justice and educasafe on campus, a tion fields gives statistic she hopes her the unique to change. “I just qualifications for want to make it a her new position. safer school,” she “With my experisaid. In her first ence and expertise, few weeks workI thought I was preing at Blair, Greene pared and ready to ELLIE MUSGRAVE has worked to be a team leader,” make sure her KATHLEEN GREENE New head of she said. staff is visible to Greene’s career security has made Blair her home. the students so began as a detective for the Montgomery County Police they feel they are in a welcoming enviDepartment youth division and family ronment. “It’s like when you’re driving crime unit where she investigated child by a speeding camera—you’ll think twice abuse, runaways and juvenile victims before doing anything,” she said. Blair’s security team thinks Greene is and suspects. Greene continued working with MCPS as a substitute teacher an effective leader. Maureen Walsh, who 12 years after retiring from the police has worked at Blair as a security assistant department. When she began officially for three years, said the transition from to working for a security team in 2001 at Greene went smoothly. “It’s almost like Blake High School, Greene already had we’re barely skipping a beat,” she said. experience with youth inside and out- “I don’t see a weak link anywhere.” Greene attributed this to good comside of the classroom setting. After years of experience as a middle munication and a hard working staff. and high school security guard, Greene “Everyone is respectful. I’m just excited said it has been easy for her to identify to be here and looking forward to a good the major problem she needs to address school year,” she said. Green attributed this to good commuthis school year: students leaving campus. “The main issue is that we don’t nication and a hard working staff. “Evwant the kids getting hit when they’re eryone is respectful. I’m just excited to be here and looking forward to a good crossing the street,” she said. Greene explained that she and her se- school year,” she said.


silverchips

October 5, 2012

News

County recognized for high minority grad rates from GRAD RATES page A1

ELLIE MUSGRAVE

FROYO Sweet Frog has many locations throughout Maryland, including this store in White Oak.

Sweet Frog comes to Woodmoor Frozen Yogurt is newest after school culinary option By Danny Alger Sweet Frog, a self service frozen yogurt store, will establish a new location in Woodmoor Shopping Center in late October or early November, replacing the Downtown Silver Spring Froyo as the closest frozen yogurt shop to Blair. Sweet Frog had claimed the space for lease near Starbucks because of its prime location in an after school gathering place lacking in a dessert-oriented restaurant. Founded in 2009 by Derek Cha and his wife, Annah Kim, Sweet Frog’s mission is to create. Sweet Frog offers any combination of 79 flavors, including Alpine Vanilla, Green Tea, Peach Mango Tart and Maple Bacon Donut with over twenty additional toppings, priced at 39 cents per ounce. A Christian organization, the “frog” in the store’s name is an acronym for, “ Fully Rely On God.” They often donate to charities like the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and sponsor artists like Lindsey Sterling.

The Ice-cream-like nature of Sweet Frog’s frozen yogurt 79 flavors the store offers appeal to many Blazers. “I love Sweet Frog, you can get like twenty different flavors! You pay by weight, so it’s not that expensive,” said junior Ananth Batni. While Sweet Frog promises low pricing, English teacher Miriam Plotinsky thinks it has a catch. “It could be cheaper, but the whole point is to put as many toppings on as you can, which ends up costing a lot,” she said. Still, regardless of the cost, Plotinsky still loves Frozen Yogurt. “I like Sweet Frog. I would go there,” she said. While these two are not the sole frozen yogurt lovers at Blair, most Blazers are not particularly thrilled about the incoming shop. Many have said, “It’s not that bad”. In spite of some unexcited Blazers, Plotinsky is confident in Sweet Frog’s future business success at the new location. “There are no dessert places [in Four Corners]. There is a good market for a place like Sweet Frog.”

Blair Theater Schedule Changes By Danny Alger The Blair Theater’s performance of The Taming of the Shrew will take place between January 30th and February 9th with the musical, Into the woods, in late April and One Acts in the fall. This change from the traditional theater schedule is due to Kelly O’Connor, director of the Blair plays, directing of the Lumina Studio Theater’s play in the fall. Lumina’s need for O’connor’s directing is the result of full time Lumina Director, David Minton’s, hiatus from the fall session of Lumina. Lumina’s play, Peracles and the Arabian Nights, will begin performing in early December. In previous years the Blair play was held around the end of October, with tryouts in the first week of school. The musical would then be held in late spring with tryouts in the early spring. This year, while tryouts were held at the same time, the play will not take place until January 30th, and as a result, the musical was also pushed forward to sometime in late April, and student directed one acts pulled back to the fall. Like senior actress Emma Bresnan, this change came as a surprise to many. “It’s weird, it changes what fall at Blair is like” she said. In spite of the unsettling feeling experienced by some actors at the unprecedented change, Junior, Aaron Posner, does not see a negative impact on performance turnout. “I don’t think it will affect it, I

graduation rate of fifty-four percent and the nation’s average rate of fifty-two percent. The report also shows that Montgomery County’s male Caucasian graduation rate of ninetyone percent is also the highest in the nation. This leaves the county with a seventeen percent gap between Caucasian and African American male graduation rates, a five percent improvement from the 2010 report and much lower than Maryland’s average rate of twenty-four percent and the nation’s average rate of twenty-six percent. In the public announcement released by MCPS Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr expressed his appreciation of the progress. “The Schott Foundation report clearly shows that we are moving in the right direction and that the graduation rate gap

spread out over multiple demographics, the graduation rate among African American males is even higher. The rate at which African American students fail to graduate is relatively low in Montgomery County. “We’re talking about a small number,” explains counselor Marcia Johnson, when referencing the number of African American nongraduates annually. Johnson accredits the high graduation rate to the academic support programs the counseling office provides to seniors, especially Senior Watch. Headed by Vice Principal Suzanne Harvey, Senior Watch monitors the progress of struggling students who are missing a component necessary to graduate and cooperates with the students to make sure they will be able to graduate at the end of senior year.

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Newsbriefs ICC bridges getting repairs

Concrete cracks were found earlier this year on three bridges and ten of 40 structures holding up the bridges. Repairs on the infrastructure will begin this month according to the State Highway Administration (SHA). In October, repair crews will drill into the concrete piers caps at the locations of the cracks and place steel rods there while tightening them to reinforce the structure. The gaps will then be filled with grout. These repairs may take until the end of the year and potentially through 2013 to be completed but are expected to cause minimal road closures. As these repairs take place, the repairs on five bridges on the Intercounty Connector’s (ICC) western section near completion. The construction companies that originally built the ICC have agreed to repair the bridge for no cost to Maryland and assure that these repairs will keep the bridge safe for as long as the bridge was originally planned to stand. The state expects these cracks to be the exception rather than the norm for these bridges in the years to come.

Employee union attacks county

KATELIN MONTGOMERY

is narrowing,” said Starr. However, Starr also expressed his belief in MCPS’s ability to continue to increase the graduation rate among African Americans and all other demographics. “The report also makes it clear that there is much more work left to be done to make sure all students are receiving an education that prepares them for graduation day and beyond,” Starr said. Blair’s overall graduation rate is relatively high, with only thirty-three non-grads last year out of a senior class that numbered into the seven hundreds. Taking into consideration that these thirty-three non-graduates were

The program targets seniors who were ineligible throughout their junior years or, according to Harvey, might not be “in the academic mindset to keep up their credits from junior year.” This school year, there are approximately fifty students being monitored by Senior Watch. As for Starr’s point that more progress must be made in providing all students with a quality education and a diploma, counselor Marcia Johnson believes that Blair has the right methods in place to create this progress. “I think we are doing the right things,” says Johnson, “It’s a matter of consistently do-

think Blair fans arloyal and the audience will stay the same. Parents, grandparents etc. will always go.” In addition, Emma sees the positive aspects of the change, saying that, “less time between [the play and the musical] is nice”, “its nice if you have a lot of lines and need time to prepare [because of the time between casting and performing]” and “when you have a lot of people that are new, you have to show them the ropes” which due to the long distance between casting and performing, allows for The Taming of the Shrew to have a very large cast. Aside from a changed schedule, Thursday show times have been pulled back to 3:30 pm, instead of the usual 7 pm times, with the hopes of making it more convenient for students to attend on a weekday and CLARE LEFEBURE raising overall attendance. THEATER Alex Mitchell and Dana Cook, Juniors, practice lines in the hallway.

Montgomery County’s general employee union has asked county leaders to extend protection for the county’s employees. The Displaced Service Workers would force companies to provide the contractors with funds that would be used to pay County employees through the end of contracts and for 90 days after the contracts end. The president, Gino Renne, wrote a letter on August 29 urging County Executive Isiah Leggett and Council President Roger Berliner to extend pay protection for the county’s workers. Renne argued that the county aided private workers while not offering the same security to those who work to benefit the good of the county. Renne also criticized Councilwoman Valerie Ervin for supporting legislation that supported private sector workers rather than public ones.

Pesticide settlement reached

A settlement has been reached regarding the traces of pesticide that were found in Montgomery County waterways earlier this year. Officials of the county’s water systems claim that the levels of chemicals were not significant enough to be considered dangerous, but were high enough to be considered an issue. According to the terms of the settlemen, Syngenta, the pesticide company, will pay $105 million to a fund that will benefit water systems that contain herbicide atrazine. Officials from the County and from Syngenta urge customers not to worry about their water quality. Atrazine is an herbicide that likely got into the water through run-off from crops, likely corn. After this instance, the state is considering reforms to how it teaches proper handling of the chemical.


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silverchips

October 5, 2012

Local News

Newsbriefs Woman accused of armed robbery

Athletics fundraises for scoreboard

A woman is accused of robbing a cab driver on Friday, September 21 in Silver Spring. The police believe this incident may have occurred in other regions as well, so they are communicating with surrounding counties police departments to investigate. The incident occurred on the corner of Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue on Friday evening with hopes of stopping a robbery. The woman got into the car before leading the driver to a bank and demanding his credit card and information. The woman then allegedly attempted to steal a significant amount of money from his account before he canceled the transaction. The woman then made off with the man’s personal money and some of his business money.

By Maya Habash

ZEKE WAPNER

SCOREBOARD Boule intends to raise funds for the replacement by the fall of 2013.

New technology plan reached by County Montgomery County Superintendent Joshua Starr has put in a request to the County Council for a new $14.5 million new technology plan for schools. Starr’s goal is for all elementary schools to have Promethean boards and wireless networking for all county schools. These goals would be paid off over the course of five years using money from the school’s budget already allotted for technology and from the Federal Communications Commission’s Education Rate program. Starr believes that access to technology is key to succeeding in the world of the 21st century. Starr views this as a way to help enforce his new curriculum 2.0. The Board of Education already approved the grant on September 4, but the County Council has yet to decide.

Tar banned in Montgomery County Montgomery County is no longer allowing coal tar to be used for county road repairs. The County Council had a unanimous vote that would prohibit use of coal tar products, which would, under the new policy, be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. The bill was inspired by the discovery of sediments full of toxic chemicals in storm water lakes in Germantown. The Department of Environmental Protection detected the chemicals and found them to be linked directly to run-off from roads sealed with coal tar products. The bill will now go to County Executive Isaiah Leggett to be signed into law.

Wheaton High School opens new, redesigned building Model is basis for MCPS improvements By Maya Habash

have to constantly look at what’s on the horizon and technology is the way kids are learning these days. We need to adapt to that,” he said. The design of the school is centered on the structure of learning and encouraging project-based learning. Project-based learning requires students to work in smaller groups and learn from each other. “The new design is a

resemble an adult work setting rather than the standard academic presentation format. This will allow students to be intellectually stimulated and engaged. “The project-based learning process will…[bring] abstract concepts of the curriculum to life through engaging and academically challenging concepts,” wrote Starr. Project-based learning will

Wheaton High School’s new architectural design incorporating further technology and projectbased learning is the new model for MCPS. Wheaton High School is being rebuilt to replace its nearly 60-year-old building; the new building will completed in August 2015. However, both the curriculum and the physical building are being redesigned in order to modernize the learning system. “Computer-based learning will be further incorporated through the accessibility of the network, wireless resources, and a different layout of classrooms that can utilize technology more efficiently,” said Assistant School Administrator of Wheaton High School, Donald Farb. “Everything is done by computer these days, and schools need to keep up. We need to build something that will stay current and be CLARE LEFEBURE able to keep up with the WHEATON The current high school will remain intact until 2015. new technologies for the next 60 years to come,” said Farb. flexible building… there will be also evolve with time to continue The incorporation of more more space for working in small to provide students with the acatechnology is intended to teach groups, which does help students demic foundations they need for the students the essential skills to grasp these necessary skills,” success in college and in their funeed for the modern workplace, said Wheaton Principal, Kevin ture careers. which include collaboration, criti- Lowndes. MCPS wants to make this modcal thinking, communication, and According to Action 6, a plan el the basis for all of its schools in creativity, promoted by the Part- presented by Joshua Starr to the the future in order to ensure that nership for 21st Century Skills. members of the Board of Educa- the county’s schools stay up-toFarb believes the new technology- tion that outlines the moderniza- date and allow students to benefit based design will allow for a more tion of the school, the project- through new and modern learnin-depth focus on these skills. “We based learning process will closely ing systems.

cost of the wheaton high school renovation:

$115,452,000 DILLON SEBASTIAN

The Blair Athletic Department seeks to fundraise $50,000 to replace the broken scoreboard in Blazer Stadium. The new scoreboard is expected to be installed next fall and will replace the current, dysfunctional one. The scoreboard will include sponsors and a message board, additions that are intended to produce part of the revenue that will eventually pay off the cost of the board. Athletic Director Rita Boule is also working closely with the Booster Club and Blair’s administration to come up with a marketing plan to offset the costs. The Athletic Department plans to sponsor a significant donations drive. The names of the donors will be permanently placed on a large plaque in the stadium. Blair is also selling sponsorship to companies, allowing them to place advertisements within Blazer Stadium. Currently, participating companies include Little Casear’s, I Drive Smart and Hi-Chew. While the athletic department continues their fundraising efforts, fall athletes assert that the broken scoreboard is a significant inconvenience. Several of the fall athletes say that the worst thing about having a broken scoreboard is that the athletes can’t keep track of the time. “The broken scoreboard hurts the teams because the scoreboard helps us figure out how much time we have left and helps fans keep track of the score,” said junior football player Darron Cumberbatch. Spectators agree that the board malfunctions are a frustration. Blair coaches feel that having an erratic scoreboard puts the school at a disadvantage and getting a new one is urgent. Still players and coaches, like junior soccer player Jessica DeMouy, understand that Boule and the athletic department are working to address the problem. “She will get us a new one in no time,” said DeMouy. While it is often down, the scoreboard does work occasionally, and has been functioning for a few home games. The master electricians have checked the scoreboard’s fuses and circuits, and report that they work fine, making it a mystery as to why the scoreboard won’t function properly. However, Blair’s current scoreboard was purchased in 1998, and according to Spectrum Scoreboards, scoreboards usually only last 10-15 years. Boule believes it’s time for a replacement. “It’s on its last leg,” she said. Blair will be purchasing a new one from Daktronics, a scoreboard company that has a contract with MCPS. The Board of Education established in 2009 that any MCPS schools with scoreboard needs must buy from Daktronics.


October 5, 2012

silverchips

Tech model proposed from Technology page A1 Blair underwent its last Technology Modernization Program (Tech Mod) in 2008. Hammond said its next upgrade is due for this summer and, if approved, will allow Blair to receive new computers for the 2013-2014 school year aside from the possible wireless network. Blair currently has Promethean boards in about two-thirds of its classrooms and does not expect to get any more with the proposal or Tech Mod. To finance the major technological upgrade in the time frame Starr proposed, he intends to enter into numerous finance agreements. An agreement with Dell Financial Services L.L.C. would help cover Promethean board purchases and an a g re e m e n t w i t h

Bank of America would help with the Cisco wireless equipment and services. MCPS also plans on adding E-Rate funds, funds by the Federal Communication Commission’s Schools and Libraries Program, which Starr says will significantly help cover costs through its rebate-providing system as an incentive for technology-related purchases made for students. These rebates will be about $2 million for FY 2013 and $1.8 million for FY 2014-FY2017.

MICHELLE CHAVEZ AND HANNAH WEINTRAUB

News

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Major initiatives on MD ballot November ballot holds big decisions By Sabrina Bradford The November 2012 voting ballot has four major initiatives and referendums which could potentially result in significant changes in Maryland if voted into action. The initiatives include the Public Institutions of Higher Education Referendum, the Civil Marriage Protection Act, the Congressional Redistricting Plan, and the Gaming Expansion Plan. The Institutions of Higher Education Referendum (Question 4) would establish the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). It would allow all undocumented immigrants residing in the state of Maryland to be eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at Maryland community colleges and universities, as long as they meet attendance and graduation requirements from a Maryland high school, pay taxes, and show intent to apply for permanent residency. Some other eligibility requirements include a clean criminal record and having lived in the United States for five years. Former Takoma Park Ward 2 City Councilmember Colleen Clay says that the implementation of the DREAM Act in Maryland The Civil Marriage Protection Act (Question 6) would allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, as long as they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying. The act protects clergy from having to perform any marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs, and states that religious institutions will not be required to provide goods, services, or benefits to a ceremony that goes against their religious doctrine. ForPETER MCNALLY mer Takoma Park Ward

2 City Councilmember Colleen Clay says that the implementation of Question 6 in Maryland would be a step forward for the country. “[Enacting Question 6] would further advance equality in the United States,” she says. The Congressional Redistricting Plan (Question 5) would establish the boundaries for Maryland’s eight United States Congressional Districts based on recent census figures. A bipartisan opposition to the redistricting plan has been in action due to the fact that the plan does not create three minoritymajority districts and reduces the amount of voting power of Hispanics living on the Montgomery-Prince George’s County border. Montgomery County councilmember Phil Andrews opposes the new gerrymandering measure, saying that it is unnecessary for the state and takes away constituents from congressmen. “The gerrymander is very awful to Montgomery County and indefensible to the state as a whole,” he says. “More than half of Montgomery County residents have been moved to a new district. [The gerrymandering] is unnecessary and only for political purposes.” Congressman Chris van Hollen (District 8) has lost a substantial number of constituents in Montgomery County, while congresswoman Donna Edwards has lost all of her Montgomery County constituents. If approved, the Gaming Expansion Plan (Question 7) would allow commercial gaming in Maryland for the purpose of raising money for education by legalizing the operation of table games in casinos; raising the number of casinos in the state from 15,000 to 16,5000; increase the number of casino operation licenses awarded from 5 to six; and allow a casino to open in Prince George’s County. All referendums have been subject to much debate and discussion over the past year. Regardless of implementation, the Questions on the ballot ask for big changes in the Maryland political arena.


silverchips Montgomery Blair High School 51 University Boulevard East Silver Spring, MD 20901 Phone: (301) 649-2864 Winner of the 2009 National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Award Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown Editors-in-Chief: Emma Bergman and Sarah Wilson Managing Features Editors: Ruth Aitken and Hannh Weintraub Managing News Editors: Michelle Chavez and Katelin Mongomery Managing Sports Editor: Josh Schmidt Manaing Op/Eds Editor: Puck Bregstone Managing Entertainment Editor: Peter McNally Production Manager: Puck Bregstone Managing Design Editor: Hannah Weintraub Outreach Coordinator: Katelin Montgomery Ombudsman: Ruth Aitken Distribution Supervisor: Peter McNally Fact Checks Supervisor: Ruth Aitken Extras Editor: Sabrina Bradford Newsbriefs Editor: Josh Schmidt Public Relations Director: Michelle Chavez Executive Business Director: Adrian Craig Executive Commincations Director Executive Advertising Director: Nick Seidell Executive Fundraising Manager, Executive Communications Director: Mac Keller Business Staff: Jared Collina Page Editors: Daniel Alger Desiree Aleibar Emma Rose Borewitz Sabrina Bradford Langston Cottman Kyle Desiderio Maya Habash Isaac Jiffar Jenna Kanner Cindy Monge Evan Morris Alanna Natanson Paris Parker Loan Mallory Rappaport Dillion Sebastian Kenyetta Whitfield Spanish Page Adviser: Dora Gonzales Spanish Page Editor: Kelly Ventura Claudia Quinonez Spanish Page Writers: Hector Barrera Rolando Alvarenga Jannet Encinas Yessica Somoza Editorial Cartoonist: Julia Bates Managing Photo Editor: Leah Hammond Photographers: Leila Bartholet Zoe Hoffman Clare Lefebure Ellie Musgrave Zeke Wapner Managing Arts Editors: Julia Bates XiXi Chen Artists: Katrina Golladay Tatyana Gubin Maggie M Eva Shen Puzzle Editors: Devin Rutan Michael Morganstein Professional Technical Adviser: Peter Hammond Advisor: Joseph Fanning

Silver Chips is a public forum for student expression. Student editors make all content decisions. Unsigned editorials represent the views of the editorial board and are not necessarily those of the school. Signed letters to the editor are encouraged. Submit your letter to Joseph Fanning’s mailbox in the main office, to room 158 or to silver.chips.print@ gmail.com. Concerns about Silver Chips’ content should be directed to the Ombudsman, the public’s representative to the paper, at silver.chips.ombudsman@gmail.com. Letters may be edited for space and clarity.

Silver Chips

October 5, 2012

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Next stop: standing up to sexual harassment As sexual harassment on the Metro becomes more prevalent, teenage girls need to speak up By Desiree Aleibar An opinion “Hey Sexy. What’s your name?” Sound familiar? Young girls frequently experience greetings like this, in addition to other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, while riding the Metro. In other words, the older man who stares for a little too long, the guy who winks more than he blinks, and the stranger who makes kissing sounds as a young girl walks by, are all practicing one thing: sexual harassment. Sexual harassment experienced by young women on the Metro has little to do with the women themselves and more to do with unrealistic expectations and dominance assumed by men. In April of 2012, Metro introduced a public awareness campaign to combat sexual harassment of Metro customers. The campaign was launched as a response to incidents witnessed by bystanders and metro employees, and included the creation of an online forum and email address in which customers can report incidents directly to the Metro Transit Police. While most workplaces and schools have an established policy with regards to sexual harassment in public settings, the Metro system has no such rule. That uncomfortable wink or blatantly inappropriate gesture is, in the most technical sense, allowed. The lack of much-needed regulations makes such actions all the more acceptable in the eyes of the harasser. For many, acts of sexual harass-

ment are not seen as disgraceful actions exercised by impertinent men; but instead show a direct correlation with young women who dress in revealing clothing and behave promiscuously. Young women should not be victimized due to the way others may see them. In fact, a man’s perception of a young woman does not manifest itself from a single girl he sees once on the metro. Images of young women in revealing clothing engaging in overly promiscuous videos and television shows teach boys and men unrealistic ideas about female sexuality. Chai Shenoy is the co-founder and Executive Director of Collective Action for Safe Spaces; a grassroots organization that works to empower the DC Metro area to build a community free from public sexual harassment and assault. She emphasizes that young women should not be blamed for the clothes they wear and that more attention should be placed on the harasser. “Sexual harassment has nothing to do with the way that the target is dressed. This is really about the perpetrator. We’ve had stories on our website where people where dressed from

head to toe,” says Shenoy. Aside from the misconception of female sexuality, is not uncommon for men to feel an automatic sense of dominance over young women. By nature, men are given a physical advantage over women and have, for centuries, typically been the primary providers for their families. However, thanks to the expansion of job opportunities and a little thing called women’s suffrage, male dependence is no longer necessary for the survival of a society. For many men, this is difficult to accept and they react by using their power as an attempt to keep women in their place. Often when young women exude confidence XIXI CHEN and composure, men feel as though they are being emasculated. Shenoy affirms that, “We are in the middle of a huge cultural shift as women become more empowered and men still feel the need to abide by the masculine checklist.” In these cases, men often turn to sexual harassment to prove their dominance and power over women. As a result of constant harassment, young women often do not find sexual harassment frightening or even intimidating. In 2011, Michigan State University conducted a survey of 6,000 men and women to examine how both women and men view

harassment. The study found that over fifty percent of women had experienced incidents of sexual harassment in the past twelve months. Of that fifty percent, the majority of women found sexual harassment in public places merely bothersome. As a result of frequent harassment, many young women are apathetic towards minor cases of sexual harassment. They often don’t report anything because they don’t feel as though the man who keeps yelling, “Hey! You’re not going to talk to me?” has done something that merits further action. Caroline Lukas, head of Metro’s campaign to combat sexual harassment, encourages young women to contact the Metro Transit Police if they experience sexual harassment on the Metro. She believes that it is important for individuals to report all cases of sexual harassment, even those that do no rise to a criminal offense. “We ask people to call in with their reports, even if they don’t think that it is worth calling about. Our goal is to intervene early in order to prevent more serious incidents,” says Lukas. Sexual harassment on the Metro and elsewhere is not something that teenage girls have to get used to. Every young woman must have the power to stand up for herself, realizing that she can wear what she wants, that she is not under the control of harassers and that she is able to report even minor cases of sexual harassment. More than anything, Metro is providing an opportunity for young women to speak up and is ultimately taking one step forward in establishing honest gender equality.

Many variables were factored into algebra debate Without the proper preparation, mandatory math may be the path to failure By Kenyetta Whitfield An opinion It’s 7:25 and you are sitting in your chair, slouched over your desk, solving a function. Although the task seems daunting, there is no time to complain. After all its Algebra, it’s important. You must pass. In fact, every high school student in America must pass the mandatory math credit in order to graduate. But not every student does. In Montgomery County Public Schools, Algebra is a course regarded as highly important and necessary for a successful academic life outside of high school. All Maryland students must take Algebra, pass the class and score at least a 412 on the algebra HAS in order to graduate. Unfortunately, the passing portion doesn’t always work out. According to the 2010 Maryland Report Card, MCPS was ranked 13th in the state for Algebra, based on its HSA scores. Knowing this, many have begun to pose the question: Is Algebra necessary? Still, experts in education are increasingly pointing to Algebra as a key component of the American dropout crisis, the subject remains one of the most relevant to student success beyond the classroom and dropping the requirement will not solve the problem. In an article for the New York Times, Queens College Political Science professor Andrew Hacker

explored that exact question. Hacker claims that mandating Algebra and higher math such as Geometry and Algebra 2 limits students’ creativity. He asserts that those less mathematically gifted students should not be penalized and forced into taking Algebra. Test scores around America dignify hacker’s point. According to Hacker, 33 percent and 35 percent of students failed to pass the algebra component in high school exit exams in Oklahoma and West Virginia, respectively. Although Hacker makes a valid point concerning algebra’s obstruction of students’ path to graduation, the world student’s graduate into continues to require

algebra and as a result, schools should too. Higher math such as Geometry, Algebra 2, and Precalculus all require Algebra 1 as a prerequisite and dropping Algebra as a graduation requirement could prevent students from exploring algebra and other higher math. Algebra is also used in science including Chemistry and Physics. Blair Algebra 1 teacher, Misirach Seyoum believes that difficult or not, algebra is still necessary. “Algebra is one of the most fundamental maths you’ll see in your life”, says Seyoum. According to an article in the Washington Post by cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham, even

LEILLA BARTHOLET

if Algebra is seldom applied in life it is proven to help with cognitive skills that can eventually reflect a person’s income. Blair teacher David Stein also feels Algebra is a staple in education, adding, “You need Algebra if you’re going to understand anything about how the world works.” Yet even with all these benefits, we cannot forget those students who continue to fail Algebra. So how do we help them? The answer lies with an overall comprehension of basic math skills and number sense. Before placing high school students in Algebra 1 they must fully grasp basic number theory. Seyoum agrees, and says that she frequently sees students go into Algebra prematurely. As a result, “kids become frustrated,” she explains. Taking extra time and effort with those students who cannot grasp basic elements is the only way schools across America can truly fix this Algebra epidemic. Though Hacker may be right about those who are not mathematically gifted, steps can be taken by school boards to provide them with the math and Algebra skills they need to be successful in any field. The path to failure is not the fault of a single subject but rather the lack of thought that goes into preparing students. If students across America are expected to pass a fundamental class such as Algebra, the proper steps must be taken.


October 5, 2012

silverchips

Opinions

B2

voicebox procon

The Obama administration has improved education. speeches four years ago, to his speech at the Democratic National Convention last month. Unlike many politicians, though, Obama is not afraid to put his money where his mouth is, quite literally. For comparison, Obama’s $70 billion 2013 budget request for the Department of Education is about $17 billion higher than George Bush’s budget request was in his fourth year as president. One of the major ways he’s spending this money is on a program called “Race to the Top.” The landmark initiative has states compete for funds from the federal government, which go to the states that Obama’s got our back. come up with Throughout his presidency, Obama the best educahas shown his dedication to educating the tion plans. This youth of this country. Obama’s “Pay as clever solution you Earn” plan, designed to lighten the forces states to make real improvements in burden on college students taking on debt their school system, rather than merely giving shows he cares. His flexibility with states them the money and having them waste it on struggling to meet the harsh standard set inefficient, unproven educational methods. by No Child Left Behind, a standard even Obama has also been particularly aggresBlair fell short of last year, shows he cares. sive in pushing for a restructuring of student His former struggles with law school debt loans. Under his Pay As You Earn plan, col(his wife and he once owed $120,000 in lege students’ debt payments will be capped student debts between the two of them) at 10% of their discretionary income and show he knows what it feels like to have to forgiven after 20 years. weigh a good education against the finanPay As You Earn is a crucial program cial burden that comes with it. From day because these college students will eventually one, Obama took a firm, progressive stance become the scientists, engineers, and docon education, and he has consistently tors that will determine the fate of the U.S. followed through with major reforms. Edu- If financial problems keep capable students cation reform has been a recurring theme from pursuing higher education, it’s everyin Obama’s speeches, from his campaign one that loses in the end. Companies end up

YES

Isaac Jiffar

NO Evan Morris Under the Obama administration, education increasingly resembles a gambling business instead of an investment in the future. What little has been fixed does not outweigh the risks of a public school education in America. Over 43,000 schools, or 48% of the country’s public schools, failed to meet the standards set by the government under the No Child Left Behind Act in 2011. Over twothirds of students graduating after four years of college leave with substantial debt. These perpetually increasing figures represent the unacceptable lack of education reform under the Obama administration. Working through school years is hard enough. Students devote a majority of their time and a substantial amount of money to a system that is not paying off. Due to the lack of positive government action in education, making the yearly run for school supplies is not getting easier. Student debt increases coupled with standardizedtesting-based government support of schools make the years between middle school and graduation that much more taxing. Without strong government leadership in advancing education, this generation’s hopes in innova-

outsourcing jobs to other countries, where they can find educated, skilled workers. “No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home,” Obama explained in his speech at the Democratic National Convention. Obama’s most popular act, though, (at least with the states) seems to be his initiative to fix No Child Left Behind. According to the Huffington Post, nearly half of all schools failed to meet the standards for No Child Left Behind in 2011, and many more were expected to fail in the next few years. After ten years of the widely criticized program’s unrealistic expectations and stiff penalties, though, Obama finally stepped in to clean up Bush’s mess. Recently, he has granted waivers to several states excusing them from some of the stricter provisions of No Child Left Behind. As of now, the Huffington Post notes that 41 states and the District of Columbia have applied for one of these waivers from No Child Left Behind, and the number is growing rapidly. Even Texas, the birthplace of this legislation, is now seeking a waiver. Seems like Obama’s on to something. Obama’s policies have demonstrated a strong dedication to improving the quality of education in the country and an amazing knack for getting stuff done. He provided waivers for incorrectly labeled “failing” schools to continue to operate and improve and he eased the financial burden on students with an economic disadvantage trying to pay for school. One could almost say he’s leaving no child behind.

Obama has made significant progress in Education reform.

tion will not be realized through debt and loss of opportunity. Beginning in elementary school, standardized tests are a staple in the evaluation of education quality. Students are measured by their ability to test well, rather than their experience and development in school. This problem heightened under the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act. This act created a reward system in which schools without successful test scores were deemed as failing institutions and funding was retracted. While President Obama has removed the harshest penalties from this policy, not enough effort is being made to reverse the damage caused by years of faulty politics interfering with education. The government must take a step further in reforming education policy. Under the current policy, states must apply for waivers. This way, if a school fails to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress goals set by No Child Left behind, they are not penalized immediately and they may still receive funding. While the Obama administration has made significant progress in allowing states these waivers, the process is still unclear. Administrators and teachers are unable to prepare students if they are not kept up to date on what is asked of them. “There are still some targets to hit, but we need more information about what we need to do here,” says Principal Renay Johnson. With this knowledge, educators could better equip their students to face this test-based system. Beyond high school, the education system further deteriorates, forcing students into massive debt. As colleges continue to charge

more, students find themselves without enough money to continue schooling. Many students are forced to rely on loans. These deceptive contracts keep them in the red for decades to come. Loan interest begins to compile after college, and in the competitive job market, students have difficulty staying on top of what they owe. Banks and their partner institutions are the only parties that profit from this system. Student debt controls a graduate’s future. The government can fix this by putting more money towards student grants and by regulating the banks involvement in schools. By putting the funds back in the hands of students, the government gives them the chance to look forward to more than paying off what they owe. With the rapid advancements in technology over the past years, education must be brought up to date. More often than not, students come to the classroom with a more advanced technological competency than that of their teachers. The Internet provides access to vast resources that could be easily utilized in the classroom. Some teachers have begun using social media to update students on assignments. However, if those teaching the classes are less familiar with these possibilities than those being taught, the potential of a technology-based learning community significantly decreases. The national government needs to recognize the worth of technology on a larger scale. With more funding, a comprehensive lesson in the advancements could be made available for teachers. This would allow students and teachers to interact on a more level field, using everything accessible in order to maximize learning.

As the cost of education rises, the Obama Administration must devote more money to schools.

Cristian Villalta Junior If kids know what they want to do, they shouldn’t be forced to complete course requirements. Someone who wants to study English shouldn’t be held back by a chemistry class.

Joe Agger Sophomore

I think Obama and his wife have done a lot so far, but they could be doing more. They should expand programs that promote healthy lifestyles for kids.

Mekelit Fiseha Senior They should take away the LC policy again. It makes students unnecessarily fail, even when they do their work.

Tigist Tadesse Sophomore I think Obama could work to even out the quality of education across the country so that all students have the same opportunities in the real world.

Caleigh Crawford Freshman Science classes at public schools are not as educational as they should be. Because of a lack of funding, we don’t have new materials and textbooks. If the program had more money, we could do more labs related to our lessons.


B3 Opinions

silverchips

October 5, 2012

Ooh, ah, you wish you were a Blazer...right? Louder fans, bigger crowds and more spirit could mean more victories for Blair sports By Jenna Kanner An opinion Five yards. First down. 30 yards. Second down. 50 yards. Touchdown! Cheers fill the 100-yard field. The “Fight” song can be heard loudly in the background. Teammates tackle the scoring wide receiver. But nobody is in the crowd to cheer except for a muddled group of parents and a few spectators. No longer does the term “home-field advantage” exist at Blair. In a school of 2,800 kids there should be enough sports fans to fill the stadium. But there are never enough people in the stands for rousing chants of “You wish you were a Blazer” without the cheer seeming ironic. When it comes to game day, it does not seem like anyone really does want to be a Blazer. Blazers declare that games are boring, that Blair teams never win and that information about games are never provided. “It is a combination of not wanting to spend money, not knowing when games are, not knowing who is on the teams. It’s not something that Blair kids do,” says Athletic Director Rita Boule. For the first football game of the year against Bethesda-Chevy Chase, the athletic department sold the same amount of tickets as were sold during last year’s homecoming game. But when Blair played Quince Orchard for the second game of the season, the fans were made up of a disappointing few. Quince Orchard formed a large majority of the crowd, filling half of the visitor stands, while Blair supporters were low in number and scattered across the stands at the other side of the stadium. The Blazers were crushed 0-55 with no one there to support the team. Crowded stands may not have been the key player in the game, but it might have dulled the tragedy that people openly tweeted about in the hours following. Principal Renay Johnson acknowledges that a boost in attendance would enhance the school and athletic environment. “When students really value something enough to attend, they really feel a part of the community. GPAs and attitudes raise and it really does promote student achievement,” says Johnson. Frequenting games provide students with an opportunity to engage in

a common, positive environment with a different group of people. Blair lacks a sense of “home-field advantage,” a term used to describe a team’s upper hand when it plays in a familiar location in front of a supportive crowd. During home games, Blair athletes play in a familiar location but tend to have only a critiquing crowd. Blazers’ sports-related complaints range from the football team’s less-than-stellar record to the complicated rules of lacrosse. Sophomore Liza Curcio can connect with these Blazers. “I’ve gone to a couple football games but they aren’t fun because we suck. I also went to a lot of the girls varsity basketball games last year, and they were fun because we were really good. Winning equals fun,” she says. A study for the Journal of Sports Science in April 2005 expressed that audience encouragement can help improve performance in circumstances where the performer may

lack motivation. The study also concluded that social support can help to prevent some effects of stress. While the ideal full stands of screaming fans may not be realistic, a more supportive crowd at Blair’s home games is a reachable goal. The size of the group of spectators is less significant than the attitude of these Blair fans. Larry Wilde, assistant professor of Theater at Northern State University, writes that, “If it’s a ‘poor house’ or unresponsive audience, both the quality of the performance and the audience’s reaction will slide down hill.” In a school of more than 2,800, it should be relatively easy to fill the stands and rally the team. Information about games is readily available to students. Before the first football game, Boule sent out a recorded message to all Blair families informing them of the upcoming game against B-CC. The athletic

department is also taking additional steps this year to promote teams. “We now have a website just for athletics including photos, scores, rosters, schedules and more information. There are announcements of scores, schedules and highlights,” says Boule. Johnson and Boule also plan to promote games with incentives, such as buy-one, getone-free tickets or free tickets for students with GPAs over 3.0. Math teacher David Stein agrees that students should have access to free tickets. “We should let students in for free with an ID or if they are wearing red,” Stein says, “It would be ideal for someone to write a grant to pay for all students to go to athletic events.” Student revenues from football alone are $5,000. That is important revenue for the school and a big check to write. As much as it is the responsibility of Blair students to support Blair athletes, it is also the responsibility of athletes to spread the word about their games. Teams could increase fan bases through self-promotion on social media sites or promotional events. For athletes, it’s as easy as typing 140 characters on Twitter. Spreading news of games could not be much easier. Many of the nation’s top athletes were once Blazers, and past Blair students could see them play for less than three dollars. Orioles pitcher Steven David Barber, 49ers and Patriots tight end Robert Edward Windsor and retired artistic gymnast Dominique Dawes are all Blair alums. Chances are high that somewhere on a Blair sports team is a major league athlete rising to the top. Athletes work hard; more than 10 hours are spent every week practicing. “Students should try a game and see how much they like it,” says Boule. It’s only a short two hours to try it out. MIMI SIM

GO, FIGHT, WIN The Cheerleeders buoys up fans at a recent football game. Principal Renay Johnson notes that more school spirit “promote student achievement.”

The next football game is at 6:30 PM on October 5th, away at Springbrook.

What happens to a DREAM deferred...you make it real DACA is not a final solution for undocumented students but just a temporary measure By Cindy Monge An opinion Where only first names appear, names have been changed to protect the identites of the sources. June 15, 2012 was a day of hope for many immigrant students in the United States. President Barack Obama established the Deferred Action program and in doing so, provided opportunities to undocumented students seeking higher education. The program allows immigrant students the option of paying in-state tuition when attending college, as well as providing these students with a work permit and a driver’s license. However, dreamers are still in limbo due to the temporary status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This executive order was passed in an effort to build a path to legalize young immigrants, but it is not enough to ensure a promising future. The Dream Act would enable immigrant students to receive loans, apply for better jobs and buy houses, which they currently cannot do without a social security number. The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act, introduced in 2001 by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, includes a provision that allows immigrant children to reside permanently in the U.S. and offers them a college education. The Dream Act has been debated for al-

most a decade but has made little progress until DACA, a derivative of the act, was put in law. Even with this new policy, the immigration issue is far from being solved. The state of Maryland will let the voters decide on DACA on the November ballot. For many dreamers, Deferred Action has not been ideal. DACA only offers legal status for a two-year term, at the end of which the status is subject to renewal. This cuts short immigrants’ opportunity to contribute to the U.S. Linnette Tobin is an immigration attorney that has been helping many undocumented students with the DACA’s application process. “The dream act is a way for young people to apply for a green card, [but DACA] is just a temporary staff measure, that it is not [providing] permanent status,” said Tobin. DACA has been a motivating force for young dreamers who hope for a new immigration law that might free them of their current illegal status. “It definitely change[s] the way I see

school. I have hope. I see the future of my education. And I just see [it] like it’s a step,” said Marisela Tobar, a junior at Blair and one of many dreamers to benefit from this memorandum. Despite the widespread benefits of Deferred Action, the eligibility requirements for DACA are unfair, leaving many young immigrants unable to receive benefits from the program. One of the many qualification requirements for Deferred Action is being under 31 years of age by June 15, 2012 and having entered the country without inspection before June 15, 2007. Only 1.7 million out of 4.4 million immigrant students will directly benefit from Deferred Action, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. With only around 25 percent of dreamers benefitting, many who need such benefits will be left behind.

“Only 1.7 million out of 4.4 million immigrant students will directly benefit from deferred action, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.”

One of the many DACA-related debates has centered around the second condition, which requires that candidates have moved to the United Sates before reaching their sixteenth birthday. “[If] I turn sixteen two days after entering the country [and] if you were sixteen when you entered, there is nothing for … [you],” said Tobin. Tobin added that this is one of the main reasons students do not access the program. This policy has been applauded by many pro-immigrant organizations but they know as well as the dreamers that the long battle is far from over. Junior Rosa is thankful for DACA’s opportunities, but is still unsatisfied with the temporary status. “It’s a good step, because… it brought us more motivation and reason to continue fighting for what we want,” said Rosa. Deferred Action is clearing up the foggy sky for many dreamers who are now more motivated than ever to show Congress and the president their desire for a better education and a better life. “Pressure Congress, that it is very important. The states that are not even giving out driver’s licenses or state benefits to the Deferred Action people, ” commented Tobar. Now more than ever, Congress must know the importance of enacting the Dream Act at a federal level. The benefits of Deferred Action, work permits and college in-state tuition must be elevated to a permanent solution.


silverchips

October 5, 2012

Editorials

Common Core State Standards a step forward The modern American school system is based on standardization. From standardized tests to standardized curriculums, standardization seems unavoidable. Regardless of one’s opinion on a standardized approach to education, the basic objectives of the recent Common Core Standards Initiative (CCSS) are proving difficult to argue against. CCSS is an initiative to set a standard core curriculum for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics across the United States. The program is being initiated on a state-by-state basis. Thus far, 45 out of the 50 states, along with two territories and the District of Columbia, have implemented the CCSS pathway. The idea at the heart of the CCSS is that students will meet specific benchmarks for each grade level, and that teachers will work to develop a selection of essential skills in their students. The widespread philosophy of “teach to the test” has the potential to be eliminated under CCSS, as its approach discourages rapid-fire instruction on a multitude of topics and instead encourages students to form a complete understanding of disciplines. This is similar to the approach that has been adopted by several Asian countries, whose test scores tend to be ranked far ahead of those of American students. Teachers’ lessons can be as flexible as they were prior to CCSS, as long as the students can demonstrate their proficiency in the core skills by the end of the unit. As the CCSS website explains, “Local teachers, principals, superintendents and others will decide how the standards are to be met. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their classrooms. ” The system emphasizes a set of goals which are, in principle, reasonable. Students today are falling behind early on in their educational years, and the CCSS aims to identify students’ potential areas of weakness. Colleges and employers are expecting more and more from applicants, and the CCSS develops students’ dexterity in several essential areas. The list of standards is not extensive and allows room for teachers to write their own parts of the curriculum. The standards should serve as an underlying organization. The new structure isn’t wrong or detrimental, but there is the possibility that they could be interpreted as a checklist instead of a guideline. Regardless the standards are actually quite useful. For ELA, the goal is to have all second semester 9th graders completely capable of writing an essay. The first semester of 9th grade English is now completely focused on writing, which is a base that is infinitely useful to have in high school, and certainly more useful then the ability to pass multiple choice tests and jump through standardized hoops. In math, the CCSS places focus on the basics: K-5 is totally dedicated to giving a strong foundation in basic arithmetic, fractions, and decimals. The standards make sure that every student will be entirely prepared for all higher math classes. Instead of rushing students through the basics despite their shaky foundations, the CCSS will give students a solid debriefing in essential math processes. Instead of tossing kids into Algebra and Geometry who don’t know their long division, the CCSS will ensure that students have basic computational ability. The CCSS has the potential to be a step forward for schools across the country. The curriculum has been vetted countless times with educators from around the country and even international help. The CCSS website touts that all of the standards are internationally benchmarked and there has been enough teacher admiration of the standards that CCSS does not seem like a step in the wrong direction. In short, CCSS has the potential to be an incredible overhaul to Montgomery County’s current curriculum, if implemented effectively. Maryland recently joined the list of states operating under the CCSS guidelines, but thus far it is not abundantly clear how the state plans to integrate the CCSS into the current school system. Communication regarding the CCSS has been limited, and the dialogue between teachers and the officials that are imposing the system has been inadequate. As a result, not many teachers possess an adequate understanding of the CCSS program unless it directly affects their class. Lack of communication has the potential to be the biggest trip up in the implementation of CCSS. The amount of misinformation about the program itself, not even the curriculum, is so great that the CCSS website has a lengthy page dedicated to Myths vs. Facts. Standardized curriculums only work if every teacher fully understands the changes they must make to fit the new standards. If it is not well communicated or understood the curriculum is ignored. Many have declared that CCSS will result in more standardized testing, but that claim is not entirely substantiated. CCSS does not call for more testing. Within the countries off of which the CCSS is based, students rank highly in math and english, yet multiple choice based testing is highly discouraged. As increased testing is not a provision of the CCSS more standardized testing would not be a result of the program itself but of faulty or misguided implementation. The foundation of learning in elementary and middle school along with the core classes is so incredibly important for the rest of a students education career and life that it should be standardized across the country to ensure the most successful and highest learning. But for now, we have little evidence that the CCSS can pragmatically achieve such results. The ideas are there, but it’s the effective implementation (or lack thereof) that will determine whether the CCSS is the solution for which Maryland’s students have been waiting.

B4

JULIA BATES

Changing our look, keeping our legacy Silver Chips celebrates 75 years with a new look By Ruth Aitken It’s the story from your typical high school movie: on the first day back to school after summer break, jaws drop. The braces have come off and the acne has been cleared. The geeky guy or the awkward girl now strolls through the halls tanned, toned, and suddenly attractive. But you may be surprised at who Blair’s top transformation story is: this year, the newspaper is getting a makeover, too. Silver Chips aims to remodel its basic design in order to modernize the look of the paper. We have developed new headings for the tops of the pages, devised a new approach to page layouts, and adopted different techniques for displaying photos. Our style is simpler and more classic this issue than it has been in the past. Having fewer gimmicky design elements on our pages will mature the paper. Though Silver Chips is published by high school students, it need not look amateur. Major newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times typically tend to have a sparse, streamlined style. Since Silver Chips hopes to emulate major newspapers in terms of quality of writing, it seems only logical that Silver Chips should similarly seek to imitate more professional design schemes. This year is Silver Chips’s 75th anniversary as a public forum for student expression. We are studentrun and free from prior review by school administration. Silver Chips print has a longstanding record of journalistic excellence, and we want the paper’s design to reflect its reputation. Silver Chips is currently one of the finalists for the 2011/2012 Pacemaker Award, which is the most prestigious recognition awarded to high school newspapers nationwide. The criteria that Pacemaker judges look for in a paper includes inventive layouts and a clean design. The Silver Chips redesign is in coherence with the Pacemaker’s ex-

pectations for how an outstanding student newspaper should appear. Progress stems from continual change; in our willingness to break from our old design template, we are hoping to rejuvenate our look. Silver Chips strives to continuously improve in order to provide Blair’s students with a quality newspaper.

LEAH HAMMOND

Ombudsman Ruth Aitken As the school year changes, so do we; our staff cycles as the previous year’s seniors graduate and a

new crop of juniors join the Silver Chips staff. A changing staff means an array of new perspectives. New Silver Chips writers mean an influx of fresh ideas that can update the paper and carry it into the future. In order to accommodate the visible changes to the newspaper, the Silver Chips staff has reorganized the cycle schedule. We have increased the time that we devote to layout development, and emphasized creative, innovative, and professional page designs. We have included more time in the cycle for page planning; the staff hopes that extra focus on the pages’ appearance will help us uphold our newfound commitment to a more mature design scheme. Though our approach to design may change, the character of Silver Chips will remain as it always has. We will continue to cover the same breadth and variety of stories. Though there will now be a unified design throughout the paper, we still represent a variety of student perspectives. Silver Chips is committed to being the voice of Blair’s student body, and that voice will carry over any change that the paper makes. The ombudsman represents the relationshp between the newspaper and the audience. Comments, questions, suggestions? Email the ombudsman at silver.chips.ombudsman@gmail.com.

Corrections In the Best of Blair Sports article, author Josh Schmidt was not credited. Zoe Waldrop’s article concerning the Virginia online education developments was mistitled. “A trip down a different road” failed to note that the students quoted in the story who were identified only by first names were anonymous sources.


B5 SOAPBOX

Is there a lack of school spirit at Blair? Why or Why not?

silverchips

see page B3

“No I don’t think Blair lacks school spirit. On instagram and twitter I see people putting up that they go to Blair. People also come out to support the football team on Homecoming and I always see people wearing Blair wear even when we’re not at school.” -junior Jessica DeMouy “I think Blair does have a bit of a lack of school spirit. I think people are embarrassed to show pride in their school because they think other people will judge them and think they’re stupid. If a few more people started showing school spirit, it would catch on. People are embarrassed to show spirit because no one else does.” -junior Simon Kienitz-Kincade

October 5, 2012

Is the culture at Blair religiously tolerant? Why or why not?

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“I think Blair is a fairly tolerant place for all kinds of people of different faiths, ideologies, sexual orientations and what have you. I’ve never really seen any kind of persecution of kids for the way they think here. However, I have seen some teachers who have a clear bias toward one faith or another, and sometimes even towards a student who practices one religion versus another.” -junior Noah Elkind “For the most part I think Blair is religiously tolerant but if you dress differently in religious clothing people make fun of you.” -sophomore Kelsey Joyce

Chips Pics: Should Blair’s malfunctioning scoreboard be replaced? Why?

see page A4

“We definitely need to replace the scoreboard. If you go to a game at fields that don’t have working scoreboards, the first reaction is immediately to think less of the team.” -junior Sadie Isakower “Blair’s broken scoreboard should be fixed. In many cases students will go to sports events not only to support the teams but to socialize with their friends. It is easier for students who might take their eyes off the field to keep track of the game with a functioning scoreboard.” -freshman Nesha Ruther

Chips Index: Joshua Starr has an annual base salary of 250,000 dollars. It has been 5 years since the varsity football team has had a winning season.

44.4 percent of Blazers play contact sports. On average, blazers watch 109 minutes of TV per day.

24.4 percent of Blazers take the metro every day. Mr. Boatman worked for Blair for 13 years.

ZEKE WAPNER

#scoreboard

COURTESY OF BLOGSPOT.COM

#guiltyTV

LEAH HAMMOND

#schoolspirit

Where do you think the food in school lunches comes from?

see page C1

“School lunches come from Ms. Johnson’s personal chef.” -freshman Albert Wang “I think the food at school comes from a mysterious location but it’s obvious the meat isn’t local.” -freshman Folane M. Zeleke “I think the school lunches come from factories that use the lowest grade of semi ‘edible’ products available to be consumed. Most school meals that involve ‘meat’ are probably created in some lab using soy and chemicals that shouldn’t be eaten amd most likely destroy your digestive system.” -sophomore Indigo Byrd

29 percent of Blazers leave campus for lunch regularly. The average attendance of varsity home football games is 344 people. Chips Index was compiled by Sabrina Bradford with assistance from Ms. Adamson’s Journalism 1 class.

Want to be featured in the next Soapbox? Follow @Silver_Chips on twitter and respond to any of our #soapbox questions in full sentences. If your response is creative, intelligent or interesting your tweet could be picked for the next issue! We will credit you with your full name, your grade and your twitter handle.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure TV show? Why? see page D2 “My guilty pleasure TV show would have to be ‘Victorious’ because not a lot of people watch it and I think it’s a funny show.” -sophomore Katherine Hores “My favorite guilty pleasure TV show is ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ because it is so funny and addicting to watch, but it is such a dumb and pointless show.” -freshman Susana Perez “@Silver_Chips Glee. I love to hate it #soapbox” -junior Kenda Tucker @bookland_


OCTOBER 5, 2012

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THEN:1977

A haunting reality The role of Halloween in the life of an aging high schooler By Peter McNally A personal column Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love its mystical origins, I love Halloween Town (the Disney Channel original movie), I love ghosts and I love candy. In high school, though, the holiday that used to keep me up days in advance in excited anticipation became a well of anxiety. After emerging from a long and dark era of cat costumes, I always strove to achieve costume prowess. A ghost fisherman, road kill, a baby, the list of its goes on. After honing my ability in the costuming arts, I also began to focus on my home’s décor. One bag of CVS brand spider web and a Jack-o-lantern would no longer suffice. I was able to garner similar enthusiasm from my dad, and the transformation began. We assembled a notable collection of tombstones, purchased fog machines, fake rats and green floodlights to bathe it all in a sickly glow. Our renovation was finalized by my father’s purchase of a life-sized and anatomically correct skeleton, which we hung from a tree. Small children in the neighborhood began to pass our house with a mix of awe and terror, clinging to their parents’ pant-legs. Greatness had been achieved. My enthusiasm was matched by my friends when All Hallows Eve rolled around. Embarking for the night in our costumes, we no longer saw before us a neighborhood, but a battlefield from which glory was to be extracted. We began trick-or-treating at the same time as the toddlers and did not cease until every porch light went dark. Out hulking bags of loot strained our shoulders as we made our way back to my friend’s house. The weight of glory. Once we had retreated to my friend’s basement, the stock market opened. Candy was swiftly divided into categories and traded amongst us. Kit-kats were petty cash, Butterfingers were priceless, Whoppers were worthless. The frenzy was fueled by the pupil-dilating stream of sugar the coursed through our veins as we gorged ourselves on corn syrup. As the sun began to rise, we would pass out in our piles of confectionary wealth. In high school, though, Halloween was a different story. In freshman year, unable to let go of a pillar of childhood, I insisted on trick-or-treating. Although I was met with the occasional look of suspicion, I yielded a hearty crop of candy. Despite this practical success, I felt what was a new deficit of joy in the evening. For some reason, the night was not as electric with mystery as it had been in the past. In an effort to reinvent my Halloween experience, I decided to merge the traditional Halloween experience with mischievous merriment that I thought might quell the older part of me. This, however, resulted in a hybrid of unfruitful trick-or-treating and poorly planned attempts to fork peoples yards. Junior year, I was resolved to make the full transition into a new age of Halloweens, and stayed home to give out candy. This seemed like a satisfying enough way to carry on Halloween spirit. However, after throwing together a dead lumberjack costume (which was quite good, if I may brag), I felt the familiar urge to hit the road. After cajoling my friends into joining me, we head out for what I promised would be my last year of trick-or-treating. In years past, my stature had been for the most part tolerated. Now, when I enthusiastically offered my prompt of “trick-or-treat,” I was greeted with stares that would lead one to think that I had asked them for their first born child, a sort of confused distaste. I reported back to my candy distribution post. Confusion about what I wanted was not the only obstacle between me and enjoying Halloween. The county did not place the professional day after Halloween, a stunt that they have chosen to repeat this year. For years, my confidence in the county’s compassion for students was supported by what seemed to be an intentional enabling of late night shenanigans. Without the moodkilling prospect of the coming school day, students were able to let loose and fully indulge in Halloween festivities. Now, the 6 a.m. wake-up weighs heavily on the hearts of children K-12. I wish I could end all this with advice on having the best Halloween one can as a high school, but I can’t. Between a deceitful school calendar, unbridled ageism and fleeting nostalgia, there can be no definitive solution. For the brief years between the glory days of childhood and the pioneering day of college, high schoolers must continually grapple with the great quandary that is Halloween.

SILVERLOGUE ARCHIVES

OPEN MIC Class of ’77 Blazers Ray Fairbanks and Lou Dirom perform at the SGA coffeehouse.

& NOW:2012

CLARE LEFEBURE

OPEN MIC Freshmen Kenneth Hill and Ian Donaldson performed a rendition of John Mayer’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” at Silver Quill’s first Open Mic of the year on September 21.

Up and Coming OCT 19: Homecoming Pep Rally & Football Game

OCT 20: Homecoming Dance OCT 27: ACT Testing Day

Student Awards & Honors Senior Sam Zbarsky was one of eight Americans in the International Linguistics Olympiad in Ljubljana, Slovenia from July 29 to August 4. Junior Lily Durkee published a book titled “Chasing Grace” about her experience as a kayaker. The Montgomery Blair High School yearbook “Silverlogue” won an award for its cover art at a summer event hosted by yearbook company Josten’s.

COURTESY OF PETER MCNALLY

BAT Peter in costume during the hayday of his Halloweens.

Separate Blair Enironthon teams placed first, second, third and fifth at the Montgomery County 2012 Environthon Competition. Senior Jessica Lu placed third at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium which was held from May 2 to 6.

Then and Now and Student Awards & Honors were compiled by Josh Schmidt with additional reporting by Dillon Sebastion, Kyle Desedario and Kenyetta Whitfield.


Silver Chips

October 5, 2012

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h i l e kids shopping at Value Village pride themselves on knowing that their thrift store finds are one-of-akind and can’t be copied by hallway admirers, the true bragging rights belong to a different chic group of students– Blazers who make their own clothes. By sewing together Value Village finds, hats, shoe laces, parts of sweaters and zippers in unique combinations or decorating their own shirts and shoes, these students bring a new look to Blair hallways. These home designers are part of a growing subset of Americans who sew or modify their own clothing. According to a study conducted by the online journal The Sun Sentinel in March 2012, 40 percent of Americans between the ages of eight and 39 sew, alter or repair their own clothing.

Cutting Edge

Blair designers make their clothes as a means of self-expression. It may have taken countless spools of thread, an assortment of needles, and valuable time, but these Blazers now believe that despite what lies on the racks of a local store, any item of clothing is within their grasps. Cutting and coloring

By sabrina Bradford

Senior Jordan Smith began making her own shirts in second grade as an alternative to shopping. “I was tired of always buying clothes, and I figured that it was cheaper to make my own stuff,” she says. It is easier and more economical to make clothing than it may seem. The average cost to make an article of clothing ranges FASHION (clockanywhere from $3 to $40, wise from upper depending on the cost of supplies as well as the qualleft) Andy Slenity of material the designer kovich proudly uses for the creation. wears his stylish Smith does not sew her designs. Josie Lichown clothes, but buys plain ten shows off her white shirts to decorate. She first sketches a design home made collar on paper, and then recreornament. Cherie ates the final design on the Carter struts in her shirt with fabric markers.

hand-drawn shoes.

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Making the shirts is rewarding, says Smith, because they show off her creativity. “[Homemade fashion is] making your own original ideas and designs on clothes,” she says. “It’s artwork, basically.” Junior Josie Lichten agrees, saying that for her, fashion is more than just the clothes she chooses to wear. “Clothing is an expression of art; it’s not just about looking good.” Litchen has been sewing her own clothes since eighth grade. She says that making clothes is easy since the process is not restrictive; there is no need to follow a specific pattern. “I take parchment paper and hold it against my body and cut it out in the shape for clothing, and then I cut out the shape the pattern needs to be. Then I cut the cloth and sew,” she explains, gesturing with her hands. In pursuit of creative passions

Sarah Gingold, founder of Think Outside the Store, a sewing studio in downtown Silver Spring, created her own clothes in high school as a way to be different from her peers and to express herself. “Making creative and different clothes [in high school] was a way for me to make a statement without actually saying anything. I felt that shopping was restrictive and I didn’t like to only have options of what others invented,” says Gingold. Gingold encourages teens to go beyond what the fashion industry has to offer and to be creative with their clothing. “Generally [in the fashion industry], whenever someone’s telling you about something, they’re trying to convince you that what they’re selling is cool. Mass-manufacturing and marketing doesn’t really promote creativity,” she says. Senior Andy Slenkovich started making and selling clothes for an entrepreneurship class project last year. In order to make his fashions, he buys sweaters from Value Village, takes them apart and sews different pieces back together. Slenkovich finds the process rewarding because he enjoyed the uniqueness of his clothing. “I knew what I wanted to wear and I couldn’t find anything like that [in stores],” he explains. Andy’s fresh, alternative style is based on recombining and repurposing existing clothing elements into his original sweaters. The top of a pair of Converse sneakers becomes a collar, a baseball cap cut along the seams becomes a design grafted on to the front of a sweater and the ends of a sweatshirt’s drawstrings are tied to look like a miniature man and woman. For Lichten, it is important to ignore her peers’ perceptions of her clothing while working on a piece. “If I cared about what people thought, I wouldn’t be [sewing],” she states. “I think that anyone making their own clothes in high school is going to be judged.”

14 across: seven letters for a good time; answer: puzzles Blair’s students and teachers find fun in challanging their minds By Langston Cotman As the 3:00 bell rings, students file through the door and spread throughout the classroom. They hunch over a three-page packet, dissecting text syllable by syllable and drawing, erasing, and re-etching complex diagrams. A student breaks the silence as he expresses his frustration with the difficulty of the exercises the club has been so quietly working on. These students are members of the Linguistics Club and they are some of the many Blazers who spend their free time exercising their brains. On August 28th, students and teachers

returned from summer vacation. Though there was a three-month layover, not all blazers abandoned their dedication to the accruement of knowledge. Math teacher David Stein and fellow members of Blair’s teacher-oriented Puzzle Project completed daily crossword puzzles over the course of the entire summer. Others are looking to pick up where they left off. Blair’s studentrun Linguistics club has reunited for another year of logic puzzles and language studies in preparation for upcoming national competitions. These two clubs convey members of the Blair community’s commitment to education outside of the classroom.

The students Last year, then sophomore Daniela Ganelin founded the Linguistics Club, a conglomerate of Blair students who share a fascination for the art of language. During a typical meeting, the students hold a seminar on any topic pertaining to language and spend time practicing language-oriented logic puzzles. The group currently consists of ten or so Magnet students that thrive in the open-discussion format of the club. Member Alan Du feels that Linguistics Club is relaxed, but still prepares its members for a successful future.

“Linguistics Club is a great place to learn all sorts of things about language, which is going to be a really hot field in the next couple of decades,” says Wu. The lectures are non-discriminatory and informative, allowing students to present on any issue that falls into the sprawling topic of linguistics. On Tuesday, September 11 Rebecca Naimon delivered a presentation on human attempts to communicate with alien life forms. The presentation soon morphed into a debate over the alien’s knowledge of binary convergent evolution, and whether or

see Puzzle page C15

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“They can’t say anything to us anymore. We got all the respect we need.”

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not just fun and games By Emma Rose Borzekowski Emotions change from disappointment to confusion as the cheerleaders’ attention moves from the fields to the crowds. Junior Saphir Vimar slowly lowers her pom-poms, turning her head towards the uproar in the stands. Her eyes flick back and forth searching for the cause of the commotion, until, through the hoards of running people, she catches a glimpse of two girls throwing punches, clawing at each other, and screaming obscenities. “All of a sudden the coach tells us to go,” Vimar describes. “We see on the other side of the bleachers people crowding and fighting.” It was chaotic, she says. Sirens blared as police arrived and blocked the exits. People struggled to get home, pushing through the crowds. The fight at the Battle of the Boulevards happened last October. Two months later, this frenzy of confusion, crowds and violence broke out again at Northwood High School, when a Blair senior was stabbed after a game between Northwood and Kennedy. Fights after sporting events have continued this year, with incidents of violence sparking at various Blair athletic events, prompting Blair and Northwood to move this year’s contentious Battle of the Boulevard game to a less heated time slot: two p.m. on a Saturday. Fueling a fight Hands on hips, Christina Friday, a Blair senior and football team manager, observes that though Blazers and Gladiators normally get along, sporting events between the two rivals can

get heated. “Throughout the year we’re all friends, but as soon as there’s a Battle of the Boulevards, all this anger comes out,” she says exasperatedly. While this sudden tension may shock Blazers, experts on sports violence are less surprised . Jerry M. Lewis, an emeritus professor of sociology at Kent State University and author of the book, Sports Fan Violence in North America, established that a number of factors that were present at last year’s Battle of the Boulevard’s game, make fan violence more likely to occur. “Spectator violence is most commonly associated with traditional rivalries and mainly occurs around football,” says Lewis. In a review piece on spectator violence, researchers Nyla R. Branscombe and Daniel L. Wann found that a spectator’s emotional attachment to particular teams and increased agitation from noise and crowding can lead to heightened levels of aggression. Blair’s Athletic Director, Rita Boulé does not see much of a connection between fights and the games at which they happened. She recalls that the December stabbing happened after the game, while fans were streaming out of the gym. Boulé believes that the fights are not caused by spectator aggression but by people coming into the games intending to cause violence. “People know quickly, because of social media, who is where, so if they want to fight, they can find it,” she explains. Whatever the cause, Friday finds the fights agitating. “It’s distracting. All the attention is brought away from the game and

people start to forget about the game,” she sighs. Fights distract the athletes as well as fans. Zaevon Prince, a junior on the football team, was tired, cold, and fighting a losing battle

large fenced in area which leads to crowding and discomfort,” Boulé describes. She goes on to explain that spectators entering the stadium are stopped and checked for ID in order to reduce the number

has limited resources, so having more parents at the events would be great, for those extra eyes,” she explains. “Also, kids need to be acting more socially responsible.” Boulé is adamant that Blair has no connection to the fights and that violence at sporting events is a coincidence of time and place. “Blair is a safe place to come watch a game. It’s not unsafe and I don’t want people to have that impression,” she attests. Likewise, Johnson had hoped that this weekend’s Battle of the Boulevards would be a safe family event and that the Blair community will perceive it as such. Reactions

RUTH AITKEN

against his biggest rival, Northwood, when a fight erupted in the stands. Now he had one more thing to struggle against; staying focused amidst a brawl. Solutions The Blair administration has taken steps to become more attuned to possible sporting event violence. Blair thoughtfully designed Blazer Stadium, the football field, in an effort to avoid fights, claims Boulé. “We have the benefit of visitors not sitting together with Blazers, and we have a lot of space, whereas Northwood has

of unaffiliated people who show up, possibly looking for a fight. Blair principal Renay Johnson has plans for another way to alleviate the danger that lies in night games. “We will have more lighting until midnight,” she proudly states. Despite these measures taken, Boulé does not see violence prevention as part of her department’s job. “Fights are unfortunate, and I feel terrible them, but it’s not athletic responsibility,” she says. Johnson views spectator violence as a community problem, and is looking for help from the community to solve it. “The school

Just as Johnson had hoped, the game, played in streaming afternoon sunlight, went smoothly, ending in a Blair victory. Junior Shelly Rollins isn’t scared to go to games. She was cheerleading at last year’s game against Northwood when the fight broke out, but she isn’t worried. “It’s normal. Fights happen all the time at Blair in the SAC, in the halls, everywhere. So I’m cautious about it when I go to games but it doesn’t stop me,” she says nonchalantly. But stroll a little further down Blair Boulevard and there are some Blazers who feel troubled by recent violence. Junior Andrew Snail remembers being at the game, confused. “There were tons of cops and everyone ran. Definitely I don’t want to go to another game,” he says. Ruby Hamilton’s biggest problem with football games isn’t the violence, but Blair’s record. “It’s not worth it to go to games, if its football, were losing. But I’m not worried about getting stabbed.”

Putting Pieces Together Blair students and teachers use collective brainpower to solve weekly riddles and puzzles see Puzzle page C14 not aliens experience the same senses as humans. With an abundance of possible topics, Linguistics allows members with varying interests to find their niche. As magnet teacher Will Rose, sponsor of the club, explains, many subjects fall under the encompassing term of Linguistics, be they phonetics, ancient sign language, Braille or modern computer programming code. The teachers Students aren’t the only Blazers stretching their craniums. “Are you ready for some high action?” Math teacher David Stein asks. He is alert, his eyes fixed on the screen in front of him, his fingers hovering hesitantly over his keyboard. His brother in arms, system operator Peter Hammond, is reclined in his chair across the table with his laptop resting in his lap. Stein begins his countdown. “Five, four, three, two, one!” and they’re off. Stein and Hammond are members of Blair’s Puzzle Project, a club made up of Blair staff members who test their knowledge by working together to solve crossword puzzles. The group is currently comprised of staff members Stein and Hammond, along with fellow educators Bob Donaldson, James Schaefer and David Swaney. Created back in 2007 by Stein and Donaldson, the project meets every day in a corner of the Magnet computer lab or joins in wirelessly to take on the New York Times daily crossword. They record their completion times and other data on The Blair Puzzle Project website for students or teachers

interested in following the group’s progress. Since July 13th, 2009 the group has not missed completing a single weekday crossword puzzle, even over the summer. Competition A competitive fire also fuels the ambition of members of the Linguistics club, who devote their remaining time studying for the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO). NACLO is an annual Linguistic puzzle competition that, according to its mission statement, strives for students to “learn about the diversity and consistency of language, while exercising logic skills.” For member Sam Maynard, the NACLO is the greatest reason he is in Linguistics club. Originally, a friend dragged him along to the club, but it was the mind-bending difficulty of the NACLO problems that kept him coming back. Even the “simple” NACLO practice problems are challenging, requiring members to tap into their logic and observational skills in order to solve the puzzles. In one particular exercise, students are given sentences describing goats eating. The task is straightforward; write similar sentences only in different tenses. Easy, right? But there is a catch; everything is in Esperanto. As for the members of the Puzzle Project, it is very much a communal effort with the teachers turning to each other for help. This project is meant to test their shared knowledge and the group refrains from using outside sources. The fun is in testing them-

“We are competing against ourselves and creating good data for statistics.”

ZEKE WAPNER

PUZZLING Peter Hammond and David Stein work together to answer clues for their daily crossword puzzle

selves and as Hammond explains, “We are competing against ourselves and creating good data for statistics.” Not once do they turn to the Internet for guidance and that leads to some moments of frustration. “Uganda’s second prime minister?” exclaims Stein. “Give me an effing break!” Progressing with puzzles Members of the Linguistics club are finally beginning to converse and compare answers. There is some disagreement, but it is through trial and error that the mem-

bers hone their logic skills. These skills are going to be necessary when the club goes to NALCO this February. The Puzzle Project can still be found in the computer lab every day answering life’s important questions like, “What is Linda McCartney’s maiden name?” The Linguistics Club is currently looking for new people to join and member Robert Martin, a junior, believes that if the puzzles don’t do it, maybe the culinary perks will draw in fresh faces. “Linguistics club is really interesting, a lot of fun and we always have food.” Language never sounded so good to the ear.


REMEMBER THE BLAZERS silverchips

October 5, 2012

BY RUTH AITKEN

A few hopeful cheers rise from the bleachers, where most of the Blazers boo and stomp their feet. It’s nearing the end of the third quarter, and the boys’ varsity football team is down 34 to zero to Quince Orchard. “Don’t forget, you guys! Blair football is gonna be good this year!” someone in the stands shouts. His rallying cry is met by laughter. The broken scoreboard stands blankly, and sighs from the crowd suggest that it might be better that way. Until Saturday, after all, the Blair varsity football team had not won a football game in two years. In fact, 47 years have passed since the last time Blair varsity football won a title. The last time that Blair saw the boys’ varsity football team finish a season with an undefeated record, a gallon of gas cost thirty cents and the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was a number one hit. In 2011, the team completed their season with a record more imbalanced than the school had seen in years: zero to 10. The devastating outcome of that single season, junior defenseman Gladimir Dupalis says, has injured varsity football’s reputation in the hallways of Blair. “People remember us as what we were last year, and they’re going to assume that that’s how we’re going to be this year,” he says. But Saturday’s Battle of the Boulevards victory could usher in a new era for Blair football, as the team says

just what Blair’s student body is having trouble doing. “When I walk through the hallways in my jersey, people tell me that we suck or that we’re not a good team,” Timbo says. Students’ skeptical attitude towards the football team does not stop at the school doors. “I saw someone tweet, ‘Oh, Blair doesn’t have a chance against Wheaton,’” Leventhal says. In fact, Sylla says, skeptical attitudes toward the football team do not even stop at students. “Some staff don’t believe in us either,” he says. The school’s dominant pessimism about the football team’s prospects impacts some players’ mentalities. “Players think that the school doesn’t trust or believe in us, and

PHOTOS BY LEAH HAMMOND ZEKE WAPNER AND ELLIE MUSGRAVE

they are determined to rebuild a promising future from a broken past. “It’s hard to go into a game saying that we’re going to win when we haven’t won in a long time,” junior quarterback Raymond Burtnick says. “But now, we can say that we know what winning is like, and we’re going to chase it.”

“” Now that we know how it feels to finally taste that win, we’re going to be even hungrier for another.

THREE HOURS A DAY

Sweaty and panting, a few boys wander over from the practice field for a water break. They chuck their helmets into the grass and slump, exhausted, onto the hill. Practice started two hours ago, which means that the team still has an hour left to their daily workout. Senior Lansana Sylla jogs to the top of the hill and gazes at the practice field below him, where a group of his teammates run ceaselessly back and forth across the grass. Though practices may be demanding, Sylla says that the hours pass quickly. “Time flies,” he chuckles. Every day at 2:30, practice begins when Coach Seals calls for the boys to run a warm-up lap. Specialized teams splinter off from the group: kickoff, kickoff return, and field goal teams scatter to separate areas on the field. The starting linemen get into position, and spend practice rehearsing and executing plays. Toward the end of practice, the team reunites

West Thach Senior

grandfather died. It was hard for me and my team supported to talk about its progress. By the time that the last player clears the field after prac- me a lot,” he says. “They’d call to ask if my family needed tice, the corners of the sky are darkening into pink and orange, anything. I feel so bonded to the team. I’m really grateful to hinting at the oncoming sunset. Senior quarterback Daniel these guys.” Leventhal says that the hours that the boys log on the practice field are just part of the commitment that the team makes to football. “Not many people in the school know what it’s like to play football,” he says. “We take several hours out of our day to practice.” Skeptics of the team, Leventhal says, discredit the team’s relentless efforts. “A lot of people count us out, and that’s unfair. Come to a practice,” he challenges. “You’ll see these guys working, really putting their all into it.” Sylla and Leventhal are in agreement that the team’s practice ethic is the foremost determiner of the team’s success on Friday night. “As a whole team, the more dedicated we are in practice, the better we play in the game,” Sylla says. Leventhal says that he finds pride in the way that some of his teammates exert total effort on the field. “Despite the record, I feel plenty of people FOOTBALL (from left to right) Team captains West Thatch, Alhaji Timbo, Sorel Gossin and Raymond Burtnick stand at attention; football team have really played their members practice their intimidaing glares, ready to take down their opponents; Blair player punts the ballball at the Battle of the Boulevard hearts out-- they’ll be they’ll come into the game with a losing mindset,” on the field, putting in 100% effort,” Leventhal says. says Sylla. “That can cost us.” BOULEVARD BLOWOUT “After the game, you see people drenched in sweat Team members speculate that and you know they worked hard.” For years, Northwood has been Blair’s foremost athletic ri- Khalil West and Kenyon Bunval. Blair’s 13-8 triumph over the Northwood team on Satur- dy were two such players HUDDLE UP day marked a triumph for Blair not only on the field, says senior who lost confidence in the Friday night on the sidelines of the turf, fullback West Thach. “It’s the Battle of the Boulevard,” he says. future of Blair football. the team is a huddle of red uniforms. Most “It’s a game that the team really wanted to win, because we see Bundy and West were both of the teammates have their heads bowed, these guys every day after school. They’re a minute away from juniors on the varsity footsome have their hands folded. A single us.” Blair’s victory, Thach says, silenced the trash talk that flew ball team last year who voice is audible from the midst of the from the Northwood players before the game. “They can’t say transferred schools for their senior year. Accircle, concentrated in prayer. After every anything to us anymore. We got the respect we needed.” cording to senior line, he pauses, and the huddle echoes Burtnick, who passed runningback Philwith the sound of his teammates repeathis first touchdown of lip O’Brien, the ing him. the season to senior boys switched “We pray as a team before games,” Sylla Sorel Gossin on teams in orsays. The pre-game prayer focuses Sylla’s Saturday, says der to attract mind for the game ahead. “It gets us in the that it was reas- more attenzone, and as a team we try to stay focused from suring to see tion on what’s important.” the team get college reThe captains say a few words, and points on the cruiters, and everyone sticks their hand into the scoreboard. t h o u g h t center. ”Family, on three!” one of the The Battle of that their captains shouts. the Boulevard chances of Leventhal says that cheers begame marked getting scoutfore games serve to unite the team. the first time ed as members “We always cheer together the last this season that of the Blair team were moment before we meet ‘the enthe team has en- dim. emy’, we say-- the opponent. We are Leventhal says that he tered the second a team, we are a family, and our precan’t speak for West or Bunhalf with a lead. game rituals reinforce that,” he says. Burtnick credits dy, but defends the Blair team Junior quarterback Raymond Burtnick the team’s success to a as being on level ground with jogs to the sideline, breathless after having strategy that allowed for fewer mis- any other team in the county. “Nothrun the ball for a few downs. The players tighter offside greet him with smiles and congratu- takes. “We didn’t have as many fumbles as we have had in ing sets us apart from other teams,” latory high-fives. Teammates interact like other games. We didn’t miss as many assignments. We had a he says. “Any team will make misbrothers, senior Alhaji Timbo says, because of few mistakes here and there, but the defense really stepped up takes, just like we do. We always match up. We’re just as good, the team’s close relationship. “We’re like a family,” he and negated them,” he says. The team’s first victory has motivated the players to con- it’s just a matter of says. “We’re close, we don’t bring each other down, we stay tinue in pursuit of another win to add to their season record. taking our talents positive and we support each other for all of our hard work.” Sylla says that the team’s brotherliness extends beyond the “Now that we know how it feels to finally taste that win, we’re and using them wisely and corfield. “We get along pretty well. We goof around and hang out going to be even hungrier for another,” says Thach. rectly.” a lot,” he says. LOW SCORES LOW RECOGNITIONN Dupalis repeats Sylla’s sentiment, adding that the teammates frequently have family-style meals together after pracTHE HOME BENCH Though in Saturday’s game the Blazers pulled out a win, tices and games. “We’ll go out to eat or hang out together. We so far this season the team has chalked up more losses than get along like a big, happy family,” he says. Quince Orchard was a home game, but As in every family, however, disagreements can arise. victories. After a loss, Sylla says, the same team that had been Communication, Dupalis says, is fundamental for the united in cheer before the game becomes fragmented, and the across the field the visitors’ bleachers were team to resolve their problems. “We get past disagree- players who before had been spirited become disheartened. filled to the same capacity as our own. Leventhal ments by having an open discussion-- if anybody’s got “People are angry when we lose,” Sylla says. “Some people says that he was disappointed to see that Blazsomething to say, they say it and we work it out,” cry. Some people are pissed off, talking back or arguing. Some ers do not show the same allegiance to the football team that Quince Orchard’s Dupalis says. Tensions do not strain the team’s people are like, ‘Man, just leave me alone.’” Timbo says that the most important thing for the team to do fans did. “QO is pretty far away bond; resolution of issues at hand cements after a loss is to move on. “We’re all sad, and we can be mad, from [Blair],” he says. “But still it. fans showed up and the visitors’ Leventhal’s teammates, he says, have but we have to then get past that,” he says. benches had lots of people on them. supported him through extremely tough Getting past the football team’s losing record, Timbo says, is You know, we just don’t see that type of turntimes. “Right around this time last year, my

“” We’re just as good, it’s just a matter of taking our talents and using them wisely and correctly. Daniel Leventhal Senior

Features C15-16

out for our games.” In his freshman year, Leventhal says, two years before he joined the football team, he was a regular on the bleachers at games. “Before I played football, I thought of it as kind of a luxury to go to games,” he says. “The team didn’t win a lot then either, but I didn’t get so disappointed that I wouldn’t show up at the next week’s game.” Athletic director Rita Boule acknowledges that Blair’s enthusiasm for the football team is lackluster. “Kids are simply not interested in the football team, and they don’t want to go to games,” she says. The impact of the team’s past low attendance records, however, could be reversed with a few wins. “I think the team needs some success to get people to come out,” Boule says. And Saturday’s win may prove to have been the perfect boost to the team’s popularity. “I think people will realize now that we can win a game. Maybe more people will show up at the game thinking that we will win,” Burtnick says. “I guess we’ll see at the next home game.”


REMEMBER THE BLAZERS silverchips

October 5, 2012

BY RUTH AITKEN

A few hopeful cheers rise from the bleachers, where most of the Blazers boo and stomp their feet. It’s nearing the end of the third quarter, and the boys’ varsity football team is down 34 to zero to Quince Orchard. “Don’t forget, you guys! Blair football is gonna be good this year!” someone in the stands shouts. His rallying cry is met by laughter. The broken scoreboard stands blankly, and sighs from the crowd suggest that it might be better that way. Until Saturday, after all, the Blair varsity football team had not won a football game in two years. In fact, 47 years have passed since the last time Blair varsity football won a title. The last time that Blair saw the boys’ varsity football team finish a season with an undefeated record, a gallon of gas cost thirty cents and the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was a number one hit. In 2011, the team completed their season with a record more imbalanced than the school had seen in years: zero to 10. The devastating outcome of that single season, junior defenseman Gladimir Dupalis says, has injured varsity football’s reputation in the hallways of Blair. “People remember us as what we were last year, and they’re going to assume that that’s how we’re going to be this year,” he says. But Saturday’s Battle of the Boulevards victory could usher in a new era for Blair football, as the team says

just what Blair’s student body is having trouble doing. “When I walk through the hallways in my jersey, people tell me that we suck or that we’re not a good team,” Timbo says. Students’ skeptical attitude towards the football team does not stop at the school doors. “I saw someone tweet, ‘Oh, Blair doesn’t have a chance against Wheaton,’” Leventhal says. In fact, Sylla says, skeptical attitudes toward the football team do not even stop at students. “Some staff don’t believe in us either,” he says. The school’s dominant pessimism about the football team’s prospects impacts some players’ mentalities. “Players think that the school doesn’t trust or believe in us, and

PHOTOS BY LEAH HAMMOND ZEKE WAPNER AND ELLIE MUSGRAVE

they are determined to rebuild a promising future from a broken past. “It’s hard to go into a game saying that we’re going to win when we haven’t won in a long time,” junior quarterback Raymond Burtnick says. “But now, we can say that we know what winning is like, and we’re going to chase it.”

“” Now that we know how it feels to finally taste that win, we’re going to be even hungrier for another.

THREE HOURS A DAY

Sweaty and panting, a few boys wander over from the practice field for a water break. They chuck their helmets into the grass and slump, exhausted, onto the hill. Practice started two hours ago, which means that the team still has an hour left to their daily workout. Senior Lansana Sylla jogs to the top of the hill and gazes at the practice field below him, where a group of his teammates run ceaselessly back and forth across the grass. Though practices may be demanding, Sylla says that the hours pass quickly. “Time flies,” he chuckles. Every day at 2:30, practice begins when Coach Seals calls for the boys to run a warm-up lap. Specialized teams splinter off from the group: kickoff, kickoff return, and field goal teams scatter to separate areas on the field. The starting linemen get into position, and spend practice rehearsing and executing plays. Toward the end of practice, the team reunites

West Thach Senior

grandfather died. It was hard for me and my team supported to talk about its progress. By the time that the last player clears the field after prac- me a lot,” he says. “They’d call to ask if my family needed tice, the corners of the sky are darkening into pink and orange, anything. I feel so bonded to the team. I’m really grateful to hinting at the oncoming sunset. Senior quarterback Daniel these guys.” Leventhal says that the hours that the boys log on the practice field are just part of the commitment that the team makes to football. “Not many people in the school know what it’s like to play football,” he says. “We take several hours out of our day to practice.” Skeptics of the team, Leventhal says, discredit the team’s relentless efforts. “A lot of people count us out, and that’s unfair. Come to a practice,” he challenges. “You’ll see these guys working, really putting their all into it.” Sylla and Leventhal are in agreement that the team’s practice ethic is the foremost determiner of the team’s success on Friday night. “As a whole team, the more dedicated we are in practice, the better we play in the game,” Sylla says. Leventhal says that he finds pride in the way that some of his teammates exert total effort on the field. “Despite the record, I feel plenty of people FOOTBALL (from left to right) Team captains West Thatch, Alhaji Timbo, Sorel Gossin and Raymond Burtnick stand at attention; football team have really played their members practice their intimidaing glares, ready to take down their opponents; Blair player punts the ballball at the Battle of the Boulevard hearts out-- they’ll be they’ll come into the game with a losing mindset,” on the field, putting in 100% effort,” Leventhal says. says Sylla. “That can cost us.” BOULEVARD BLOWOUT “After the game, you see people drenched in sweat Team members speculate that and you know they worked hard.” For years, Northwood has been Blair’s foremost athletic ri- Khalil West and Kenyon Bunval. Blair’s 13-8 triumph over the Northwood team on Satur- dy were two such players HUDDLE UP day marked a triumph for Blair not only on the field, says senior who lost confidence in the Friday night on the sidelines of the turf, fullback West Thach. “It’s the Battle of the Boulevard,” he says. future of Blair football. the team is a huddle of red uniforms. Most “It’s a game that the team really wanted to win, because we see Bundy and West were both of the teammates have their heads bowed, these guys every day after school. They’re a minute away from juniors on the varsity footsome have their hands folded. A single us.” Blair’s victory, Thach says, silenced the trash talk that flew ball team last year who voice is audible from the midst of the from the Northwood players before the game. “They can’t say transferred schools for their senior year. Accircle, concentrated in prayer. After every anything to us anymore. We got the respect we needed.” cording to senior line, he pauses, and the huddle echoes Burtnick, who passed runningback Philwith the sound of his teammates repeathis first touchdown of lip O’Brien, the ing him. the season to senior boys switched “We pray as a team before games,” Sylla Sorel Gossin on teams in orsays. The pre-game prayer focuses Sylla’s Saturday, says der to attract mind for the game ahead. “It gets us in the that it was reas- more attenzone, and as a team we try to stay focused from suring to see tion on what’s important.” the team get college reThe captains say a few words, and points on the cruiters, and everyone sticks their hand into the scoreboard. t h o u g h t center. ”Family, on three!” one of the The Battle of that their captains shouts. the Boulevard chances of Leventhal says that cheers begame marked getting scoutfore games serve to unite the team. the first time ed as members “We always cheer together the last this season that of the Blair team were moment before we meet ‘the enthe team has en- dim. emy’, we say-- the opponent. We are Leventhal says that he tered the second a team, we are a family, and our precan’t speak for West or Bunhalf with a lead. game rituals reinforce that,” he says. Burtnick credits dy, but defends the Blair team Junior quarterback Raymond Burtnick the team’s success to a as being on level ground with jogs to the sideline, breathless after having strategy that allowed for fewer mis- any other team in the county. “Nothrun the ball for a few downs. The players tighter offside greet him with smiles and congratu- takes. “We didn’t have as many fumbles as we have had in ing sets us apart from other teams,” latory high-fives. Teammates interact like other games. We didn’t miss as many assignments. We had a he says. “Any team will make misbrothers, senior Alhaji Timbo says, because of few mistakes here and there, but the defense really stepped up takes, just like we do. We always match up. We’re just as good, the team’s close relationship. “We’re like a family,” he and negated them,” he says. The team’s first victory has motivated the players to con- it’s just a matter of says. “We’re close, we don’t bring each other down, we stay tinue in pursuit of another win to add to their season record. taking our talents positive and we support each other for all of our hard work.” Sylla says that the team’s brotherliness extends beyond the “Now that we know how it feels to finally taste that win, we’re and using them wisely and corfield. “We get along pretty well. We goof around and hang out going to be even hungrier for another,” says Thach. rectly.” a lot,” he says. LOW SCORES LOW RECOGNITIONN Dupalis repeats Sylla’s sentiment, adding that the teammates frequently have family-style meals together after pracTHE HOME BENCH Though in Saturday’s game the Blazers pulled out a win, tices and games. “We’ll go out to eat or hang out together. We so far this season the team has chalked up more losses than get along like a big, happy family,” he says. Quince Orchard was a home game, but As in every family, however, disagreements can arise. victories. After a loss, Sylla says, the same team that had been Communication, Dupalis says, is fundamental for the united in cheer before the game becomes fragmented, and the across the field the visitors’ bleachers were team to resolve their problems. “We get past disagree- players who before had been spirited become disheartened. filled to the same capacity as our own. Leventhal ments by having an open discussion-- if anybody’s got “People are angry when we lose,” Sylla says. “Some people says that he was disappointed to see that Blazsomething to say, they say it and we work it out,” cry. Some people are pissed off, talking back or arguing. Some ers do not show the same allegiance to the football team that Quince Orchard’s Dupalis says. Tensions do not strain the team’s people are like, ‘Man, just leave me alone.’” Timbo says that the most important thing for the team to do fans did. “QO is pretty far away bond; resolution of issues at hand cements after a loss is to move on. “We’re all sad, and we can be mad, from [Blair],” he says. “But still it. fans showed up and the visitors’ Leventhal’s teammates, he says, have but we have to then get past that,” he says. benches had lots of people on them. supported him through extremely tough Getting past the football team’s losing record, Timbo says, is You know, we just don’t see that type of turntimes. “Right around this time last year, my

“” We’re just as good, it’s just a matter of taking our talents and using them wisely and correctly. Daniel Leventhal Senior

Features C15-16

out for our games.” In his freshman year, Leventhal says, two years before he joined the football team, he was a regular on the bleachers at games. “Before I played football, I thought of it as kind of a luxury to go to games,” he says. “The team didn’t win a lot then either, but I didn’t get so disappointed that I wouldn’t show up at the next week’s game.” Athletic director Rita Boule acknowledges that Blair’s enthusiasm for the football team is lackluster. “Kids are simply not interested in the football team, and they don’t want to go to games,” she says. The impact of the team’s past low attendance records, however, could be reversed with a few wins. “I think the team needs some success to get people to come out,” Boule says. And Saturday’s win may prove to have been the perfect boost to the team’s popularity. “I think people will realize now that we can win a game. Maybe more people will show up at the game thinking that we will win,” Burtnick says. “I guess we’ll see at the next home game.”


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October 5, 2012

Fear of the unknown

Muslim students and communities around the country face growing prejudice continued from Islamophobia page A1

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Corey Saylor, the legislative director of the anti-Islamophobia department for the Coalition on America and Islam Relations. But many Muslims agree that the best way to combat the rise in anti-Muslim actions is by adopting an age-old, elementary school activity: show and tell. “Most people couldn’t imagine [a progressive Mosque] in their mind but by establishing these places and doing it where they can see it, their fear of the unknown becomes assuaged when they see what Islam can be,” explains Immam Daayiee Abdullah of the Masjid An-Nural Isslaah Muslim Center in Washington, D.C.

Customs

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COURTESY OF 9 NEWS NOW

Muslim freshman Baboucarr Manneh and his friend were casually flipping through radio stations one day. The usual one-hit wonders and calls to live “young and wild and free” blasted from the speakers. Manneh vetoed occasional song choices because, as he explained to his friend, his religion restricted him from listening to any music with profanity. Manneh’s explanations of his Islamic customs were usually met with his friend’s well-intentioned questions, so he readied himself for the usual line of curious inquisition. Instead, Manneh was surprised when his friend’s inquiry took a more offensive turn. “My friend said, ‘You guys can bomb buildings but you can’t listen to dirty music?’” remembers Manneh. As Khan and Manneh explain, the Islamic customs and traditions they follow can quickly set them apart from their peers. Usually, they agree, those who are interested in their religion are kind in their questioning. But, as they have both experienced, it is when others misunderstand their traditions that potentially friendly conversations turn hateful. When Khan began wearing a hijab, or Islamic headscarf, at the end of middle school, she had typical teenage reservations on covering her tangle of hair, but unlike most teens making a change in their appearances, she also worried about her safety. “I thought people would attack me,” she says. “I thought I’d be that one girl who’s different.” But with her friend and fellow hijabi (a Muslim woman who wears a hijab) Zaafira Elham at her side, Khan is confident that her hijab has added some colorful variety to the typically hatless Blair crowds. Still, setting oneself apart takes confidence. “Wearing a hijab gives you more respect,” says Elham,

“but you have to be strong.”

Islamophobia Having strength means having the power to stand up against others’ fears and misinterpretations in order to explain the truth, says Saylor. “People claim that Islam is an existential threat to the U.S. and that Muslims are all plotting to overthrow the Constitution,” he says, giving a sampling of the contentions people lob against his faith. “We just counter these claims with logic and reason.” Despite Saylor and other Muslims’ attempts at trying to demystify their religion, their efforts have not erased the tumult of abounding anti-Muslim rhetoric. Herman Cain’s assertion during the Republican primary that he would not be comfortable with a Muslim in his administration shares airwaves with 2012 Senate candidate Woody Degan’s declaration that a vote for him would be a vote for anti-Sharia. While some have a fear of knees (genuphobia) and others fear flutes (aulophobia), the post 9-11 violence and hateful rhetoric indicate a national rise in Islamapohboia, a prejudice or irrational fear of Muslims. Islamophobia comes in different forms depending on the perpetrator, says Bob Pitt, editor of Islamophobia Watch. For Conservatives, Islamophobia usually manifests as a fear of immigrants and other races, while people on the left add to the chorus of Islamophobia by criticizing Islam for restricting personal freedoms, Pitt explains. “What they all have in common is that they depict Islam as a threat to ‘our’ culture and way of life,” says Pitt.

The cycle of fear Outsiders’ fear that Muslims pose a threat to the American way of life has manifested itself in laws and vandalism that have, in turn, instilled new alarm within the Muslim community. Knowing that people would be remembering not only those who died on 9/11 but the few Muslims who carried out the attack, Kahn worried that the peaceful day of remembrance could easily turn hostile against her. This concern made Khan fear coming to school this September 11. Still, she showed up. “You just have to dodge whatever comes at you,” she explains. Khan’s anxiety was not baseless. As Saylor explains, when Muslims are spotlighted in a negative way such as on 9/11 or when one large anti-Muslim act occurs, Islamophobic tensions rise. This pattern repeated itself this summer

when, after the deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, nine Muslim mosques were vandalized within two weeks. This high rate of destruction was shocking to Saylor because, as he explains, the vandalisms were happening at four times the rate that they had been occurring in the previous months. When Elham heard of these strings of attacks, she could not help but think of the families and children who attend her mosque and how painful it would be if they were harmed. “I was scared to go to our mosque; I felt uneasy,” she explains. “It could happen to us.” While accounts of violent and physical acts of Islamophobia abound, what scares Saylor the most is the recent anti-Muslim laws that have been introduced in 24 states and have passed or been close to passing in 13 states. These laws, according to the web site of the Society of Americans for National Existence, a major group pushing for this legislation, would in some cases make it a punishable offense to abide by Muslim law. Saylor sees these laws as fundamentally changing the rights of Muslims on the basis of panic. “There is a certain amount of fear of Muslims; we understand that,” says Saylor. “But they’re using that fear to change the constitution of the United States.”

“We can be out there”

After 9-11, in order to show that Islam was not a threat at all but simply a peaceful religion, mosques and Muslim groups began to more actively open up to the broader community, says Saylor. “When mosques reach out to our neighbors, it lets people get to know us as human beings, not caricatures,” Saylor explains. “We can be out there and be visible, that humanizes us.” At mosques, religious schoolteachers and members of the clergy help to create a space where constituents can discuss their run-ins with Islamophobic actions. Abdullah gives his congregants tools for dealing with potentially offensive comments and actions. “In terms of how they respond, I tell them don’t allow people to push you off center,” says Abdullah. “Your beliefs are what make you and allow you to make sense of the world. Because some people have read some material doesn’t make it true and doesn’t mean you have to respond.” Still, some Muslims are at a loss for ways to deal with the rising attacks against their faith. Besides giving support for Muslim groups with a tweet or “like” on Facebook, Khan struggles to figure out how to oppose those who are against her religion. “I want to do something about it,” she exclaims, “but in reality, we can’t.”

COURTESY OF CNN

ISLAMOPHOBIA (from top to bottom) The memorial to 9/11, a tweet by Reverend Terry Jones about the planned public burning of a Quran, a prostest against a planned Muslim community center, the vandalism of a North Smithfield, Missouri mosque, the vandalism of a Harrisburg, Virginia mosque, Hillary Clinton responding to a movie that incited violent protests in the Middle East XIXI CHEN


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October 5, 2012

What’s behind the mystery meat? The life and times of your lunch tray

By Alanna Natanson She’s talked about every day. People don’t bother to lower their voices when she’s around. One minute, Blazers worship her golden-brown complexion and oh-so-delicious perfume. The next minute, she’s a social reject as she arrives in the SAC pale and crusty. The school’s chicken patty is one fried piece of controversy. The chicken patty meal is just one of the 13.1 million meals sold annually in Montgomery County Public Schools, according to the county’s 2012 At-a-Glance report. The quality of MCPS school food, Blazers in the lunch line say, is sub-par, while the school system reassures students that its meals are, in fact, delicious and nutritious. Other students worry about the extra calories swalthey’re lowing as they munch on school meals. Last year, a University of Michigan study found that sixth-grade Michigan students who regularly consumed school food were 29 percent more likely to be obese than their home-lunch counterparts. There are also grumblings (or shrieks) about sanitation concerns, and not without cause; the chance of contracting a food-borne illness from school lunch increases by 10 percent annually, according to ABC News. Blazers may grumble, but just like most things in high school, not all of the rumors are true.

Quality quiz It’s been fifth period for no less than ten minutes, and the rumble of voices could already drown out a construction site. There is an anthill quality to the moving bodies, as people swarm around packed tables. Yet senior Beza Eshetu concentrates on her chicken patty, systematically judging its taste and texture. “It’s dry,” she says. “It’s not like the chicken I have at home.” According to Marla Caplon, director of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) for MCPS, Blair’s chicken patties actually are made from the same meat that sits in refrigerators at home. The manufacturers who rival each other for MCPS’s coveted poultry contract are not exactly obscure: Tyson’s, Goldkist and Purdue have all competed in the past, Caplon says. The school’s mystery meat isn’t such a mystery after all; it’s on grocery store shelves across America. The birds make a few stops before

they reach Blair’s kitchen. First, imagine 22,500 feet (635 football fields) of packaged food. “That’s the food warehouse [in Rockville],” Caplon explains, “where almost all food is delivered.” The patties then zoom through monster-sized machines that slice, dice and boil at lightning speed. Caplon says that the Central Production Facility (CPF) is a major food factory. “It’s a bit like an ‘I Love Lucy’ assembly line,” she laughs. Blair’s cafeteria manager Patty Johnson lists foods created at the CPF. “They make the spaghetti sauce and,”— she hoists up a Ziploc bag of slippery white gunk—”the ranch dressing.” Finally, the staff loads the patties onto 15 mammoth delivery vans that rumble out of the CPF before dawn, according to the “Facilities” report from FNS. None of the food at the warehouse stays put for more than two weeks, says Cap l o n . “ T h e fruits and veggies are delivered today, go out tomorrow,” she says.

Teetering on the food pyramid Eshetu’s complaints about the patties have some validity; Johnson explains that the school’s Tyson’s must meet strict USDA nutrition guidelines. “The patties have less sodium, less sugar, more protein [than the store-bought chicken],” says Johnson. “We’re secretly putting you all on diet,” she grins. JuniorAlex Deveraux says the school food’s color is a dead giveaway to the secret. “Gray,” he comments, without a pause. “That’s what the pizza is. It’s dead, it’s not flavorful.” Though someone has left smashed bread to ooze tomato sauce on the floor, the pizza has left no trace on senior Khalid Cross’s plate. Still, he argues that the pizza is far from appetizing. “If I wasn’t hungry, it would be nasty,” he says. Caplon says that with pizza, the FNS struggles to balance good nutrition with good taste. “When the pizza decreased in sodium,” Caplon pauses, “there weren’t great reviews.” Some students know that there are healthy options like apples and carrots available in the school lunch line; they simply do not want them. Sophomore Timmy Elas admits that he eats little of the apple he regularly buys. “I don’t really eat healthy at the cafeteria,” he says. “I don’t like fruit.” When students finally accept the healthy food, Caplon says, few believe it contains

“Having our customers know that the meals really are

healthy, that’s the biggest challenge.”

-Maria Caplon

Director of Food and Nutrition Services

nutritious ingredients. “Having our customers know that the meals really are healthy,” she sighs, “that’s the biggest challenge.” Sophomore Jessica Fuentes is among the skeptical students. She picks at her sandwich, a thick triangle of peanut butter and purple gunk, and complains that she does not see healthy optionsin the cafeteria. “There’s a lot of junk food, chips and cookies,” she winces. “It’s hard to take care of myself.”

“appealing, quality, nutritious meals” that the FNS describes in its mission statement. Or the school food may be, as Alex Deveraux puts it, “impossible to improve.” So far, no one has found the ultimate solution. Not even the chicken patty.

No bacteria, please Elas’s voice is low as he recounts a horror story: the “thing” found in his meal. “I found a hair last year,” he shudders, “in the macaroni and cheese.” For senior Yamiley Nelson, the mold in her cream cheese last year was the biggest school lunch turn-off. “The cafeteria people should pay attention to expiration dates,” she says. “They’re trying to kill us.” But Blair’s food, says Johnson, never spends more than a week and a half in the kitchen. “There’s never any food in there that’s years old,” she says. According to Johnson, the food that arrives at Blair immediately goes to one of three storage rooms each the size of Angelia Jolie’s closet: brain-freeze inducing freezer, chilly refrigerator or a room temperature pantry. The rest of the kitchen is just as big. Fluorescent lights shine dully on machines that hum in their place along the wall. There are washing machine-like ovens, bathtub-sized sinks filled with blue cleaner fluid and a well-used vat for frying. Johnson confirms that cleanliness was a concern when she arrived last summer. After a thorough wash-down of the kitchen and a re-teaching of proper cleaning procedures, Johnson has seen the cafeteria staff progress. “So far the staff have been listening and using the sanitizing solutions,” she says. According to Johnson, the food that arriveNelson’s moldy cream cheese initiated a change in the cafeteria. “There are new procedures in place for refrigerating foods before serving it to students,” Principal Johnson says.

Ei-I-Ei-I-Oh When junior Michelle Zaman hears that September 17-21 is Maryland Home Grown School Lunch Week, she takes a second glance at the salad on her plate. “So it should be better today, right?” Maryland farms send their produce to the school, Cafeteria Manager Patty Johnson says. She then names foods that evoke visions of sunshine and grassy hills. “We’ve had Maryland green beans, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, and a spinach and romaine salad,” she says. To freshman Aisha Marson, the fruit cup is nothing special. “It’s kind of chewy, not really as crispy as it should be,” she sighs. Senior Jessica Nguiyim, however, says she’s glad the food is from close by. “It’s not made in some human-made, chemically lab. I know it comes from around here.”

Feeding the animals Blair’s food comes from all over the country. It gathers in central facilities, in kitchens, on trays. Its journey is fraught with battles over nutrition, wars over quality and the ocasional mold scare. With cafeteria managers like Johnson working to improve sanitation and parents and students calling for healthy options, the school system of the future may provide the

ART BY JULIA BATES


October 5, 2012

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October 5, 2012

Off the Menu, Across The Street Beyond closed campus doors, Blazers escape to open lunch

By Paris Parker-Loan Where only first names appear, names have been changed to protect the sources’ identities. Ding. Ding. Ding. It is 10:47 A.M., and as the bell rings, Blair Boulevard floods with students eager to get to lunch. For most Blazers, these fortyfive minutes are used to eat, socialize, and cram in homework due next period. But for some, the bell means one thing: it’s go time. This select group of Blazers leaves campus to eat at the plethora of restaurants located across the pedestrian nightmare that is University Boulevard, breaking Blair’s closed campus rule in the name of what they fondly call “open lunch.” They have made it their mission to slip past Blair’s security guards, across notoriously dangerous University Boulevard and back to school—all before the second bell. Ding.

ten away with leaving know exactly what to do to avoid getting caught. Across the Boulevard

Though the transportation authorities’ research shows that Blazers are susceptible to fatal collisions, students continue to cross the street for lunch.

Caught in the act

Safety first Blair became a closed campus in 1998 when the school moved from Wayne Avenue to its current location on University Boulevard. Parents, administration, local businesses and the Maryland State Department of Transportation collectively decided that a closed campus was the safest policy considering the new location’s proximity to the major intersection of Four Corners. Fourteen years later, cars barrel through Four Corners at 40 miles per hour. The United States Department of Transportation has concluded that collisions at this speed yield an 85% pedestrian fatality rate. During the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s 2004 to 2008 study of the intersection, 14 of 18 vehicle-pedestrian collisions occurred during the day, and seven of these 18 pedestrians were under 20 years old. Blazers must cross University Boulevard to get to the Woodmoor Shopping Center. If students are hit by cars, especially when walking in groups, tragedy is nearly guaranteed. “It’s almost always a fatality,” says Principal Renay Johnson.

Vehicle accidents are not the only threat to open lunchers. As part of the policy’s disciplinary implications, Blazers caught leaving campus receive a lunch detention. These detentions can number in the hundreds each year, says In-School Suspension (ISS) Coordinator David Ngbea, who supervises students serving their time. Security guards are always on the lookout for Blazers getting food from off campus. Junior Kevin O’Connor, who twice had food delivered to Blair last year, was caught mid-transaction. O’Connor and his friends ordered sixty dollars’ worth of food from Golden House, a local Chinese restaurant. “We told them to deliver it to the school,” O’Connor recalls, but administration spotted the deliverer. “I got yelled at,” O’Connor says, though he did not receive a detention. Violators of the closed campus policy are often not caught, disciplined, or questioned as they eat in Woodmoor. “Teachers come in and don’t even say anything to them [the students],” says Kevin Sharpe, Manager of Santucci’s Deli. Some Blazers who have repeatedly got-

Senior Mitchell Gross has perfected the art of leaving campus. On days when he wants to eat in Woodmoor, Gross wears a business suit to school in order to get past security guards without raising suspicion. Stowing his school supplies on the blair campus and walking out, Gross passes for an adult. “I walk quickly and don’t make eye contact,” says Gross. While some have mastered elaborate plans, for most Blazers, open lunch is as simple as XIXI CHEN one thing: good food. “Cafeteria food sucks,” says Courtney, a junior who has been leaving campus for two years. “Chipotle is delicious.” A quick scan of the lunch line at Chipotle, quiet even on a Friday, will reveal Blazers’ backpacks amongst the casual t-shirts of landscaping company workers, the starched buttondowns of schoolteachers and the crisp suits of businessmen. Open lunchers gravitate towards the Mexican restaurant, as well as McDonald’s and Santucci’s. “Students come every day,” says Sharpe, who has worked at Santucci’s for 17 years. Despite the profit that students contribute, Sharpe suggests that

Blazers wait until 2:10 to visit Woodmoor. “Stay in school,” he urges. With the variety of food options, Blazers are eager and willing to leave. “The community allures the kids,” says Johnson. “They put the things kids love nearby.” Ngbea recognizes that these establishments are clear preferences over the school cafeteria. “Human beings are susceptible to temptation,” he says. “These food places, just off campus, that’s what’s appealing.” With Woodmoor in such close proximity to Blair, students and staff are occasionally known to cross paths while out to lunch. “I walk in to Starbucks and kids run booking it out the back door,” Johnson laughs. “It’s funny, but it’s not safe.”

Closed campus continues

Although safety concerns necessitate Blair’s closed campus policy, many students, faculty and Woodmoor establishments would prefer an open lunch policy. However, dangerous traffic makes a policy change unrealistic. Johnson believes no burrito or Big Mac is worth the risk of a vehicle accident. “I wouldn’t want to call a parent and tell them their kid was killed,” she affirms. Blazers are not the only ones who run into trouble crossing University Boulevard. In the spring 2012 police sting on the stretch of the road outside Blair, students and staff received $50 jaywalking fines. “It’s where we’re located,” Johnson reiterates. “I’d love to have open lunch, but we’d have to cross the street.”

XIXI CHEN

silververse One of those kids

Different Views

By Dylan Greer

By Connor Donahue

I’m one of those outdoor kids climbed mango trees at 7 backpacked at 9 deep emotional sidegets me down sometimes makes my head hurt tends to split my skull

but it’s okay; I’ve got my feet I’ll walk it off fight or flight, right? I choose to walk thanks anyways

Cross my eyes my point of view, and now I’m swimming through miles of stew. Snowflakes falling underground Reptilian, but lost in Found

BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE SILVER QUILL LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE

Come and melt a lemon or two, the sun will rain and bleed with glue. Building sweaty working clocks that pick up dimes and mangled rocks.


silverchips

D2 Entertainment

October 5, 2012

Out with Snooki, in with Honey Boo By Kenyetta Whittfeld and Dillon Sebastian Art by Julia Bates After five seasons of hookups, breakups and partying, Snooki will say farewell to her New Jersey roommates in the final season of Jersey Shore. The cast of the Shore sent their viewers on a whirlwind experience, with summers full of drinking, tanning and partying that will be missed. As the thrill comes to an end this winter, TLC takes the reins on tacky TV, airing three absurd shows that are sure to entertain the tawdry viewer at least as much as our old, weekly friend DJ Pauly D did.

Here Comes Honey Boo

19 Kids and Counting

Extreme Cuponing

Pumpkin, Chubbs, Chickadee, Sugar Bear, Mama, and Honey Boo Boo. No, these aren’t the names of clever cartoon characters; they belong to an even more animated group of people. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo has already made a huge name for itself since the August premiere. The shows main character, sixyear-old pageant child Honey Boo Boo (a.k.a. Alana) and her family take tacky to a whole new level. Between The Redneck Games featuring confederate flags and bobbing for raw pigs feet, viewers are sure to be laughing, crying and cringing by the shows end. But just why does the show embody a whole new type of trashy television? It could be the poor manners or the constant references to bodily functions by Pumpkin. It could even be the scary fact that Mama talks about going to “bed” with Sugar Bear. Whatever the case may be, viewers across America are drawn to this strange yet fascinating family because they keep us laughing, always at them. With big personalities and even bigger stomachs, the entire Here Comes Honey Boo Boo cast is sure to leave you giggling at things that are just too shocking to comprehend. One thing’s for sure, Honey Boo Boo is no passing fad. As the five year old would say, “You’d better rednecknize.”

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar weren’t expecting to be stars on a reality TV show. Nor did they expect to raise nineteen children (and counting!). The conservative Christians, who refuse to use any type of birth control, have popped out nineteen kids over the span of 24 years and have been closely monitored by TLC-addicts for the past four. With each child in charge of the welfare of a slightly smaller child, every time a new baby is born the second youngest is given a bed in the orphanage style multi-person bedroom and a tiny violin to play in the family orchestra. Still, with 19 kids in a house paired with an American desire for raunchy entertainment, the Duggars are expected to live wild, uncontrollable lives. Unfortunately, the Arkansan family goes through every day as any average four-person family might. This disappointment makes for a strange sequence of unrealistically harmonious and staged family activities. If Michelle’s hypnotizing voice doesn’t put the viewer to sleep, the absent sounds of scrambling while cleaning the house sure will. After ten minutes of watching half of the Duggar family fill trash bags and look for nineteen pairs of shoes, the family spends an equal amount of time reflecting on the simple task. The monotonous nature of the twentyminute show makes each episode feel twenty minutes too long, even when they try to cut loose with a visit to a Christian amusement park and a reunion with the Duggar’s doppelganger family, the 19 person Bates clan.

Saving money has become America’s favorite pastime. The word “SALE” lures and attracts the American shopper’s eye, but for some mothers, that word has become a lifesaver and has even sparked a new sport. The TLC show, Extreme Couponing, follows the shopping lives of middle-aged women who coupon for a living. Underneath the sappy life stories and heartwarming tales of the families lies a truly outrageous practice. Through countless hours of tearing through magazines, newspapers and digging through their resigned neighbors’ trash , the featured woman musters up a couple hundred coupons per spree, helping her save anywhere from fifty to three-hundred dollars. Just what are these women shopping for? That varies depending on the family. With basements resembling storage rooms, these women could be Costco’s biggest competition. Imagine a cleaner version of “Hoarders” but with more soap and canned goods. An average extreme coupon-er is strategic and plans her shopping trips more carefully than she does anything else in her life. The women who take shopaholic to a new level feel the need to coupon in order to save for the more important things in life. What they don’t realize is have become one that their lives blur of shopping carts, scissors and most of all, coupons. TLC reveals America’s new shocking addiction and the outrageous, excessive and hilarious addicts who are hooked.


Chips Clips D4

silverchips

October 5, 2012

FACULTY LOUNGE by Devin Rutan and Michael Morganstein

Bugged

Across 1. Home or in follower 6. Enjoys the sunshine 11. Lone European mountain 14. John Wayne’s friends 15. _____ de pepe 16. Confederate 17. High level? 18. Crackles in the lungs 19. “___ city” 20. Brittle Hollywooders? 23. Silver Spring to NY, direction 24. Burmese penny 25. “Easy A” star on drugs? 31. Plague carriers 35. Shaped into a sphere 36. Red Cross’ goal 37. Geithner emp. 38. Instead of 39. Foundation 41. “Two ____ half men” 42. Wide open 43. U.N security council permanent member 44. _____ Tuck of “Robin Hood” 45. Tributary of Fulda 46. Car Dealer recommendation 49. K, maybe 51. InToneNation sound 52. Smoltz hit a triple

58. Dos over dos 59. 5th Dimension front woman Marilyn 60. Mad as can be 64. NY movers group 65. KISS box set 66. Tripledogger 67. Small disease 68. Financial perk 69. Planet of the Apes leader

26. Group of three 27. Couch potato, maybe 28. Isotope determiner 29. Kenyan ethnic group 30. CXCIX + III 32. Water sacs 33. Magicians phrase 34. Band member 39. Doctor’s term for behind 40. Fire’s calling card 44. Whistler Down 47. Dilemma when Letterman 1. Relaxation spot is sick 2. Lil’ kid 48. Pond denizen 3. Our zone, for short 50. Americans lost in ‘nam 4. Sike 52. What white guys can’t do 5. What Caesar did 53. To place, preposition 6. Ship Captain 54. Punk’d to the next level 7. Berry with special lettering 55. Some Cpls. 8. Window foundation 56. Ring sound 9. Volleyball equipment 57. PG expletive 10. “Coal Miner ’s Daughter” 61. Pointillism, for example Spacek 62. Party drink? 11. Invisible Jessica 63. “It’s human to” 12. Sly look 13. Sea monkeys, for example 21. Conjunction 22. Raw meat dish 25. What you can’t do to this puzzle, probably

June Solutions

S U D O K U EVA SHEN

Rolling Admissions

Counseling Dept. or Bust

COURTESY OF WWW.WEBSUDOKU.COM

by Tatyana Gubin

by Katrina Golladay


October 5, 2012

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ADs D5


La Esquina Latina

Silver Chips

5 de octubre de 2012

El ciclo decisivo del Acta del Sueño de Maryland Opinión por Claudia Quiñonez Es este momento el futuro de muchos soñadores (estudiantes indocumentados que desean obtener una educación universitaria) es incierto. No saben si podrán continuar con sus estudios, no saben si serán capaces de alcanzar sus ambiciones y expectativas No saben si el Acta del Sueño pasará en las elecciones del 6 de noviembre. ¿QUÉ ES EL ACTA DEL SUEÑO DE MARYLAND? Por alrededor de 10 años grupos pro inmigrantes y estudiantes soñadores han estado batallando y defendiendo esta ley de educación que da igualdad a todos los estudiantes sin importar su estatus legal en el país. En mayo del 2011 con mucho esfuerzo y sacrificio el Acta del Sueño fue aprobada en la Cámara del Senado de Annapolis, contando con el apoyo del Gobernador Martin O’ Malley; dando a miles de estudiantes la esperanza y la ilusión de continuar sus estudios en las diferentes universidades del estado. El Acta del Sueño de Maryland permitirá que estudiantes que se han graduado de una escuela secundaria de Maryland puedan asistir a las universidades pagando la misma cantidad que pagan los ciudadanos, sin importar el estatus inmigratorio del estudiante. LA OPOSICIÓN A ESTA LEY Grupos de la oposición, como “Help Save Maryland” y el “Tea Party” han estado luchando contra esta ley desde el día que fue aprobada. Estos grupos pudieron conseguir un monto requerido de firmas para que esta ley sea vetada. Será llevada a un referéndum, donde los ciudadanos a través de su voto podrán determinar si esta ley se aprueba o se desestima. Si es desestimada sería una gran desilusión para los miles de estudiantes que esperan ansiosos seguir con sus estudios. Por esa razón, así como existe la oposición, existen otros grupos que para que esta ley sea aprobada están trabajando arduamente para conseguir votos de apoyo. En Maryland existe un gran porcentaje de la población que no está informada sobre el

Acta del Sueño, tienen conceptos erróneos sobre los soñadores, teniendo la idea de que solamente beneficiara a los estudiantes latinos y que obtendrán becas para sus estudios. Esto no es así. Cabe destacar que existe un gran porcentaje de jóvenes estudiantes de países africanos, asiáticos que también se beneficiarán con esta ley, así como los veteranos de guerras. El Acta del Sueño, solo da la oportunidad a que los estudiantes que se han graduado de las escuelas secundarias de Maryland y que asisten a las universidades del estado, paguen precios similares a la de los estudiantes nacidos y residentes de este país,. SOÑADORES En Maryland existen miles de soñadores, esperando continuar con sus estudios, cada soñador con su propia historia que contar, como por ejemplo: Yves Gomes es un soñador, que llegó de la India, junto a sus padres cuando tenía 1 año de edad. En la actualidad tiene 19 años y este joven no conoce ni se acuerda de su país. En el 2008 su padre fue arrestado y deportado, seis meses después su madre también fue deportada. Cuando sus padres fueron deportados Yves dice que se sentía - “lleno de responsabilidades, tenía que cuidar de mi hermano pequeño (nacido en este país) y ser su figura paterna”. Se graduó de la escuela secundaria con el promedio máximo con nueve clases de AP. Actualmente está estudiando en Montgomery College. Dice que desea obtener un “PhD en biomedicina”. El Acta del Sueño para él “no es un programa de becas, no es un programa de amnistía, es un programa que le daría la oportunidad de concluir estudios e integrarse con toda libertad al mercado de trabajo.” *Ricky Campos es un soñador que llegó al país desde El Salvador cuando tenía 12 años de edad. Al llegar a E.E. U.U. no tenía un lugar estable en el cual vivir. Su familia se movía constantemente de estado en estado. Él dijo que “mi meta más grande era gra-duarme de

la escuela después de todos esos años que había estado como nómada buscando estabilidad con mi familia”. Cuando Ricky tenía 18 años fue diagnosticado con osteosarcoma, un cáncer raro en la espalda. Ricky dice que “vivía en angustia, no sabía que sucedería después y ser indocumentado me excluía de poder obtener un seguro de salud y ser atendido con la enfermedad y mis oportunidades de regresar a la escuela eran más difíciles “. Sus padres pudieron conseguir un seguro que ayudó a Ricky a ser sometido a una cirugía y el tratamiento de quimioterapia, estuvo en silla de ruedas por casi un año. Actualmente él ya se ha graduado de la escuela secundaria y está estudiando. Quiere ser médico y ayudar a enfermos como lo ayudaron a él, cuando lo necesitó. Ricky es un soñador, que tiene la fe y la fortaleza para continuar en la lucha. Como Yves y Ricky existen muchos otros estudiantes que tienen su propia historia que contar, son personas que tienen todo el deseo de estudiar y poder incorporase en la cultura completamente, contribuyendo al engrandecimiento de esta nación que llaman hogar. EL ACTA DEL SUEÑO DE MARYLAND Y SUS ALIADOS Así como hay muchas personas en contra de esta ley educativa, hay muchos otros grupos, instituciones educativas, profesores y oficiales gubernamentales apoyando la causa, por ejemplo: Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, Montgomery College, Universidad de Maryland, Baltimore City Council, Casa de Maryland, Maryland State Education Association y muchos otros. El Gobernador de MD, Martin O’malley ha apoyado esta causa desde sus principios. Durante la Conferencia del NIIC ( National Immigrant Integration Conference) él compartió que “ El Acta del Sueño de Maryland es importante, porque nuestro mundo cambia diariamente. La capacidad de crear puestos de trabajo y llevar adelante a nuestro país FOTOS COURTESIA DE GOOGLE

depende enormemente de los nuevos americanos que son personas talentosas e innovadoras; están reconstruyendo nuestro futuro y el futuro de nuestros hijos”. A si como un Martin O’malley apoya el Acta del Ensueño, hay muchos profesores de la escuela que apoyan esta ley. Un maestro compartió que “Cuando se mira en profundidad, uno se da cuenta de que sirve para llevar a los estudiantes un paso más hacia la ciudadanía, al éxito y a los derechos comunes”. ELECCIONES DEL 6 DE NOVIEMBRE El 6 de noviembre de este año es un día importante para todo el pueblo estadounidense; es el día de las elecciones presidenciales y de los representantes que los representaran en el Congreso. En el estado de Maryland tienen la misma importancia porque el destino de muchos estudiantes se verá afectado por la decisión que los votantes tomen en favor o en contra el Acta del Sueño. En estas elecciones hay distintas preguntas en el referéndum como matrimonios del mismo sexo, aprobación de un nuevo casino, y la pregunta # 4 está relacionada con el Acta del Sueño. LA CAMPAÑA POR EL ACTA DEL SUEÑO EN MARYLAND Educación para los niños de Maryland es la campaña que ha sido creada por el arzobispado de las Iglesias de Maryland en conjunto con CASA de Maryland y la sindicato de los maestros del estado de Maryland. Esta campaña está enfocada en conseguir el apoyo necesario para que el Acta del Sueño, sea aprobado en las futuras elecciones.

CONCLUSIÓN La educación es la mejor inversión que cualquier persona puede hacer. El Acta del Sueño de Maryland es importante porque es un acto de valor, porque los jóvenes que llegaron de pequeños a este país quieren estudiar en las universidades y ser profesionales; están luchando por conseguir que esta ley sea aprobada .El Acta del Sueño es la oportunidad de alcanzar los sueños y anhelos de miles de jóvenes estudiantes.

Creando un futuro mejor: el reciclaje Por Rolando Alvarenga El mundo en la actualidad sería igual que un basurero si no hubiera personas que actuaran para combatir el problema de la acumulación de la basura. Muchas veces la basura no es desechada correctamente y causa un daño severo a nuestro planeta. Muchas veces las personas a nuestro alrededor no reciclan por el simple hecho de no conocer los contenedores de basura o porque cuando nosotros estamos haciendo una acitivad en general, nunca tomamos consideración de nuestras acciones y tiramos cualquier cosa al suelo o en cualquier lugar donde no debemos. ¿Qué es el reciclaje y cuales son sus pasos? Reducir, reutilizar y reciclar son los pasos de las tres “R”s del reciclaje. El reciclaje es el proceso y tratamiento de la basura en el cual un residuo de un material, pasa por una serie de ciclos para ser transformado en materia prima y así forma parte de la fabricación de objetos como cartón, plástico, vidrio etc. Reciclar se ha convertido últimamente en una de las actividades de mayor importancia en la mente de muchas personas a nivel mundial y a nivel nacional ya que nosotros generamos millones de toneladas de basura y toda no es reciclada. Por ejemplo, cada mes se tiran suficientes botellas y frascos de vidrio como para llenar un edificio completo.

¿Sabías quE? -La energía que se utiliza para procesar una lata de aluminio puede hacer funcionar un televisor por 3 horas. -Si no reciclas una lata de aluminio esta puede tomar 500 años para ser absorbida por la tierra. -133 millas cuadradas de papel aluminio son usadas diariamente para envolver 20, 000,000 Hershey’s kisses y casi nadie sabe que este papel puede ser reciclado. -Solo en los Estados Unidos, las personas usan 50 millones de toneladas de papel anual, eso equivale a 850 millones de árboles. ¡Imagina cuánto debe ser a nivel mundial! -Cada mes se tiran suficientes botellas y frascos de vidrio como para llenar un edificio completo. ¡Todo este material es reciclable!

El programa “InDesign” utilizado para realizar el periódico de la escuela, está diseñado para la lengua inglesa. Con tal propósito, Silver Chips ofrece disculpas

Esto es un error que puede causar un futuro indeseable para nosotros y para las nuevas generaciones. El calentamiento global y la escasez de recursos naturales sería una de las mayores razones para alarmarse. Una de estas personas que se preocupan por mantener la escuela libre de basura es la Sra. Shilling. Ella es la encargada del “Green club”, el cual se ocupa de informar sobre cómo reciclar basura en la escuela y conservar el medio ambiente a su alrededor. Gracias al gran trabajo del “Green Club” y a los conserjes de la escuela, en el año 2011, Blair fue elegida como una de las escuelas verdes en el estado de Maryland. La Sra. Shilling espera que este año la escuela vuelva a conseguir este gran reconocimiento. La manera más sencilla de obtener un futuro libre de basura es tomar acción, empezando por cosas pequeñas, comenzando en nuestra casa. Por ejemplo, solo en los Estados Unidos, las personas usan 50 millones de toneladas de papel anual, el equivalente a 850 millones de árboles. Tú puedes tomar un gran paso y unirte al “Green Club” de nuestra escuela y ser la voz de tu propia comunidad. Ser parte del cambio es un paso clave para de esta manera aclerar el hábito de reciclar y así alcanzar la meta de tener un mundo mejor y más saludable.


silverchips

5 de Octubre, 2012

La Esquina Latina E2

Una mirada a lo que la acción diferida representa Por Yessica Somoza El pasado quince de junio, el presidente Barack Obama hizo algo inesperado que devolvió la esperanza a millones de jóvenes indocumentados. Algunos llamaron la nueva póliza, un movimiento político pero cualquier razón por la que fue creada, esta póliza ayuda a un estimado de 1.7 millones de personas, según el Centro Hispánico Pew. La iniciativa es llamada Acción Diferida para los Jóvenes (DACA), la orden ejecutiva permitirá que adolescentes indocumentados puedan quedarse en el país legalmente por dos años, sin el miedo de la deportación. Para los casos que demuestran necesidad económica, esto también incluye una autorización de trabajo. Para calificar en este programa, los solicitantes deberán tener entre 15 a 30 años de edad, haber estado en el país por más de cinco años contiguos y haber llegado al país antes de que tuvieran 16 años. Específicamente, los solicitantes deben haber residido en los Estados Unidos desde el 15 de junio del 2007 hasta el 15 de junio del 2012. También tienen que estar matriculados en una escuela, haber concluido la escuela secundaria, o ser veteranos honorados de las fuerzas armadas de los Estados Unidos. Finalmente, los solicitantes necesitaran demostrar que no son un riesgo para la seguridad nacional. Esto significa que no pueden haber cometido ninguna felonía o delito serio y menos de tres delitos menores. Los delitos no incluyen estar en el país ilegalmente. Si el joven ingresó al país sin permiso debe demostrar la fecha en la que ingresó, si ingreso al país con visa, esta debe haber expirado antes del 15 de junio del 2012. Para los jóvenes que piensan que el no estar matriculado o no ser graduado de la escuela secundaria es un impedimento para aplicar, esto no es un problema. Estos jóvenes simplemente tienen que demostrar que se

han rematriculado antes de someter su aplicación. El título de educación general (GED) cuenta como un título escolar. Igualmente, los jóvenes que no califican ahora pueden aplicar en los próximos dos años si llegan a cumplir los requisitos. El proceso no es tan compli-

legal. Esto es solo una protección para evitar la deportación. En este aspecto, el Maryland DREAM Act, ( Acta del Sueño) busca impedir la deportación y apoyar la educación universitaria para los inmigrantes. Si el Acta del Sueño hubiera sido aprobada en el Congreso, hubiera tenido un efecto increíble y hubiese sido el inicio de una reforma migratoria. La iniciativa del Presidente Obama no hace esto, pero trata de ayudar al mismo grupo que está afectado por el Acta del Sueño. Esta iniciativa pasó por otro método y allí es donde los problemas empiezan con esta póliza. Algunos critican al Presidente por sus acciones. Dicen que esto no respeta la Constitución o que solo fue hecho para ganar el apoyo de los Latinos en las elecciones que se aproximan. Esto no es lo que preocupa a unos peticionarios de la iniciativa. MULTITUD se reúne en CASA de Maryland para informarse sobre la iniciativa de acción deferida Lo que les preocupa es la incertidumbre que depara el fucado. Los solicitantes tienen que llenar una turo de esta iniciativa. ¿Qué pasa si en dos aplicación, mostrar los papeles requeridos, años, esta póliza no es renovada? ¿Qué va a tener 2 fotografías tamaño pasaporte, pagar hacer el gobierno con la información de los la suma de 465 dólares que es el precio de la jóvenes los cuales podrían ser deportados? aplicación (en forma de giro) y esperar. Nadie sabe. La segunda parte del proceso comprende Manuel Huinil, un recién graduado de lo siguiente; para una verificación de ante- Blair que solicitó la acción deferida dice, “Escedentes, sus huellas dactilares son regis- toy preocupado de lo que va pasar, especialtradas. Una vez hecho esto, un oficial en el mente si Obama no gana estas elecciones, es Departamento de Servicios de Inmigración muy probable que la iniciativa sea rechazada y Ciudadanía (USCIS) decidirá si aprobará y algo malo pase para los que aplicaron a este la aplicación o no. Es importante recordarles programa.”. que esta “Acción Diferida” es solo por dos Según el Departamento de Seguridad años. Después de los dos años, el gobierno Nacional (DHS), solo hubo 80,000 solicitudes va a tener que renovar esta iniciativa. Esta en los primeros 30 días, DHS esperaba alreiniciativa no da ningún estatus migratorio dedor de 250,000 aplicaciones. De los 1.7 miFOTO POR CLAUDIA QUINONEZ

llones que califican, Maryland tienen 30,000, según el Instituto de Póliza Migratoria. Cuando piensas lo que esto significa para los solicitantes, es increíble pero puede ser mejor. La gente que califica no está aplicando, ¿por qué no? Hay muchas razones, como la posibilidad de que la aplicación no sea aprobada. Muchos temen que sean deportados si sus aplicaciones son rechazadas, otros temen por el resto de su familia. Si ellos tienen familiares que están en el país ilegalmente, ¿serán ellos deportados? Nadie quiere arriesgarse o arriesgar a sus familias. Para los que no están seguros de aplicar hay organizaciones comunitarias, como CASA de Maryland, que quieren ayudar. Huinil dice, “Sin pensar lo que pueda pasar en el futuro, todos deberían aplicar a este programa, es una oportunidad muy buena y tal vez pudiera ser el comienzo de algo mas.” Él también fue a CASA de Maryland para completar su aplicación. En este proceso, no tienen por qué estar solos. En cada paso pueden conseguir ayuda. Si estás aplicando, piensa en esto; eres uno de los cientos de millones de jóvenes que por fin van a ser reconocido por el país donde eres un indocumentado. En el último año, hemos visto protestas por estudiantes en la televisión. Estos intrépidos estudiantes están luchando por el Maryland Acta del Sueño para poder ser reconocidos como ciudadanos con los mismos derechos en los Estados Unidos. Cuando el Acta del Sueño fue rechazada en el Congreso, estos estudiantes no pararon de luchar y no perdieron la esperanza, siguen esperando por ese momento. Esta iniciativa del Presidente no es todo lo que esperamos como comunidad latina, pero es el primer paso. No hay que contentarse con esta victoria, hay que seguir luchando como comunidad de inmigrantes, pero hay que aprovechar de esta gran oportunidad que ha sido ofrecida.

El embarazo en la adolescencia: una nueva perspectiva Por Héctor Barrera

Sin duda alguna, el embarazo de las adolescentes es un tema controversial en nuestra comunidad educativa. Los obstáculos académicos que un embarazo representa para una joven son muchos. Desde la primera etapa del embarazo, estas jóvenes se ven en la necesidad de hacer cambios radicales en su vida cotidiana. Todo comienza con los mareos, nauseas, vómitos, cambios alimenticios y visitas al ginecólogo. Luego, sigue el aumento de peso, más visitas al ginecólogo, las angustias económicas, cumplir con las responsabilidades académicas y acostumbrarse a que las demás personas observen y comenten sobre tu situación. Todo lo mencionado y muchas cosas más son las que vive un adolescente en estado de embarazo y son ellas quienes tienden ser el enfoque. Sin embargo, ¿cuánto sabemos de lo que vive el futuro padre? En la mayoría de los casos la única pregunta que hacemos es ¿Quién es el papá? y ¿Se hará responsable? Es el momento de presentar el tema del embarazo desde la perspectiva de un padre adolescente. De todos los países industrializados, los Estados Unidos posee el número más alto de embarazos en la adolescencia. Cerca de 1 millón de jóvenes quedan embarazadas cada año en los Estados Unidos y un 95 por ciento de estos embarazos no son planeados. Para algunos grupos, especialmente la población latina, el porcentaje de embarazos

en la adolescencia está muy por encima de lo que se considera el promedio nacional. Es decir que el grupo étnico con el porcentaje más alto de embarazos de adolescentes son los latinos. Para poder entender mejor las consecuencias de estas cifras es necesario contemplar el impacto que un embarazo implica no solo en la vida de una joven, pero también en la de un padre adolecente. Seis de cada diez chicos dicen que se arrepienten de no haber esperado su mayoría de edad para tener relaciones sexuales. Jorge Almeida, de 17 años, tiene estos mismos pensamientos. En mayo platicamos sobre su situación actual: la de el embarazo de su novia Aurora y la de ser un futuro padre. Jorge expresó que su vida cambiará radicalmente en los próximos meses, mucho más de lo que ya a cambiado con la noticia de que iba ser

padre. De hecho, ya ha pospuesto sus aspiraciones académicas. Jorge admitió que él nunca fue un excelente estudiante pero que siempre trataba de completar sus trabajos. Él cuenta que para él, ir a la universidad y estudiar una carrera era un sueño muy grande pero que ahora este sueño se aleja más y más de hacerse realidad. En mayo, Jorge ya tenía cinco meses de no ir a la escuela y reconoce que extraña mucho sus amigos de clase y el ambiente escolar. ”Es algo extraño levantarse por la mañana y no ir a la escuela pero es algo a lo que me tengo que acostumbrar porque muchos dependen de mi”. En ese entonces, Jorge nos confesó que trabajaba para sostener las necesidades de su novia y del bebé que venía en camino. “Estamos viviendo en la casa de mi mamá pero yo le tengo que ayudar porque no siempre vamos a depender de ella y por eso fue que tuve que dejar la escuela”, explicó Jorge. Aurora, quien ha decidido con el apoyo de su familia no dejar la escuela terminó el año escolar 2011-

2012 en Blair y contó que ella teme por el futuro de su novio, puesto que él no podrá graduarse, pero que todavía tienen esperanzas que cuando la situación esté más estable Jorge podrá obtener su diploma de la escuela secundaria. Jorge admitió preocupación pero que tiene que hacerle frente a sus responsabilidades. Uno de los momentos más difíciles para Jorge ha sido enfrentar a su madre. Él confiesó que fue muy penoso explicarle todo. Él dijo, “fue la plática más difícil de mi vida…yo no sabía donde poner la cara”. Ahora Jorge se siente más cómodo al hablar del tema. Antes, él tenía vergüenza y miedo a que alguien se enterara de su situación pero sus pensamientos han cambiado y es la opnión de que todos sus sacrificios al final de todo valdrá la pena. Para la mayoría de las personas, el embarazo en la adolescencia involucra cambios drásticos en la vida de una joven. Pero también es importante considerar el impacto y los cambios radicales y similares a los cuales el futuro padre se enfrentará. La responsabilidad de tener un hijo no solo involucra a la mujer, sino también al hombre. En el caso de Jorge Almeida, su futuro y el de su familia son una incertidumbre. Pero si ellos luchan no van hacer simplemente otra estadística de adolecentes que no pudieron salir adelante.

**Los nombres aquí presentados son seudónimos.

¿Y tú, qué PIENSAS?

¿Estás en contra o a favor del “Dream Act”? ¿Por qué?

“Estoy de acuerdo porque le va a dar la oportunidad a muchos estudiantes de tener un futuro mejor como yo.” Allison Salvatierra, Doceavo grado

“A favor, porque le puede abrir mas puertas a los latinos.” Henry Vazquez, Doceavo grado

“Estoy de acuerdo porque ya era tiempo de que hicieran un cambio para aquellos estudiantes que de verdad quieren estudiar .“ Wendy Menendez, Onceavo grado


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October 5, 2012


Silver Chips

October 5, 2012

F3

Sports

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“A hit to the head is never good, but ignoring that hit and getting hit again is even worse.”

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Blair stuns Northwood in the Battle of the Boulevard By Michael Gerbasi BLAZER STADIUM, Sept. 29– The Blair varsity football team (1-4) defeated the Northwood

offense. The Blazers celebrated as they took down the Gladiators in the Battle of the Boulevard. Blair gained momentum early

down of the game, handing the Blazers a 7-0 lead after a successful extra point by senior Joshua Blockstein. On the next possession, howev-

ZEKE WAPNER

FOOTBALL Blair football won its first game of the season against Northwood this Saturday. Gladiators (1-5) by a score of 13-8 on Saturday. The Blazers had a solid offensive and defensive showing as they registered their first win in nearly two years. They capitalized on almost every opportunity they had and shut down the Gladiators’

as on the opening kickoff Blair’s Claude Richardson recovered a Northwood fumble giving Blair the ball at the Northwood 18-yard line. Blair capitalized on their opponent’s mistake when halfback Darryl Blue ran for the first touch-

er, Northwood capped off a long drive when quarterback Charles Hennessey completed a touchdown pass to Jabari Robinson. Along with a two-point conversion, Northwood took the lead 8-7 with 2:40 left in the first quarter.

After neither team could get anything going in the second quarter, the score remained 8-7 heading into the half. Junior Raymond Burtnick threw for his first touchdown of the season in the 13-8 win. Junior Raymond Burtnick threw for his first touchdown of the season in the 13-8 win. Blair came out strong in the third quarter with an excellent kickoff return to the Northwood 43 yard line by Khalid Rivers. Later in the same drive, the Blazers were able to take advantage of their great field position when on a critical fourth down, junior quarterback Raymond Burtnick threw his first passing touchdown of the season to senior Sorel Gossin. “We had very few mistakes on offense, everyone did their job,” Burtnick said. Burtnick’s touchdown pass gave the Blazers’ their first second half lead of the season. After a failed two-point conversion attempt the score stood 13-8. The game was not over yet, however, as Northwood finished the third quarter with a strong drive giving the Gladiators the ball at the Blair 3-yard line to start the fourth. As the officials blew their whistles to begin the final quarter, Northwood was called for a costly false start penalty, which set them back five yards. With close to 10 minutes left in

the game and recognizing the game was on the line, the Blair defense stopped the Gladiator offense at the goal line on fourth down. Lineman Walter Blanco saw the goal line stand as the real turning point in the game. “We had to rotate the D-line, missing Mario, and we had to step it up but we did,” Blanco said. The Blair defense continued to be a brick wall as the shut out Northwood in the final quarter. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Blair defense forced a turnover when Northwood’s Jordahn Brown fumbled a snap and later, with 2:00 left in the game, they stopped Northwood’s final drive with an interception by senior Alhaji Timbo, to seal the game. “It feels awesome to win again. I couldn’t have expected a better result,” Richardson said, “I’m really proud of the team.” Head coach Jeff Seals believed this was the best game the team has played all year. “We had no mistakes on offense or defense. We played a complete game. It’s hard to pick out one player because everyone played well,” Seals said. “We feel great about this game but we need to focus on Springbrook. Tomorrow is a whole new day.” Varsity football will play their homecoming game on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. against Blake.

Off the grid iron, onto the grid for fantasy footballers Fantasy football players at Blair go pro with widespread competitions By Mallory Rappaport It’s Saturday night, and the pressure is on as junior Wyatt Colbert sits at his computer, picking what he hopes will be an indestructible team. Aaron Rodgers, his quarterback, is a no brainer. Colbert is less sure about Roddy White and Greg Jennings, his chosen wide receivers. The fate of his team rests on these pre-game decisions. If he racks up enough points he could win this thing, maybe. This is Colbert’s first year playing fantasy football, a game that awards points for fantasy teams based on real athletes performances, something Colbert sees as an inventive way to watch football. “It’ makes NFL games more enjoyable,” he explains. “It’s a little friendly competition.” Fantasy sports were an instant hit when they originated in the 1980s but with the rise of the Internet it has since developed into a huge franchise. Now mostly played online through networks like ESPN, NFL, and CBS the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) estimated that 32 million people from Canada and the

United States are actively playing fantasy sports, which is a notable jump from last year’s recorded 27 million. Roughly 75% of those fantasy sport participants play fantasy football.

Starting out In order to play, participants each join a league, usually with a group of friends. Junior Abel Chanyalew organized a league this year and was very particular about who could join. “When setting it up you’ve got to get people who know the sport,” he says. Once a league is established, it holds a mock draft where each participant strategizes and picks the best available players from the NFL. The key strategies to picking a winning team are to research individual players, especially in terms of how often the players will be used, and to draft the best players available. When the teams are picked each par-

ticipant acts as a “team manager” and decides their team’s line-up every Sunday, generating points based on the statistics of the players in their real games. Participants play through a whole NFL season, sometimes betting money, other times not. Chanyalew, like many, enjoys the game for the competition. “There’s a lot of strategy to it. I like football, and I know about football, so I can make a lot of money off it.”

Down for dollars A lot of participation in the fantasy football franchise has to do with betting money. While it is possible to play for free, according to ESPN, players must put in money in order to receive prizes. According to Colbert, playing without money also takes away some of the edge. “We bet money so we have a stake in it. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t care,” he claims. Jeff Thomas, former president of the FSTA esti-

mated that the average fantasy sport player spends nearly $500 per year on fantasy sports with the inclusion of league fees, and fantasy sport related magazines. Still other participants like freshman Julian Bregstone, who do not put in money, are still able to remain enthusiastic about the “fun competition” the game provides. Fantasy football has expanded past the level of youth entertainment and now hosts a wide fan base of adults. The World Sports Technology Inc estimates that the average fantasy football players are 37 year old males. Social studies teacher Kevin Shindel played fantasy football for ten years. “I knew a lot about football. I liked the statistical part and showing that I was smarter than others in the league,” he says. Shindel sees the game as a way for different people to come together. “It brings a divergent of people together and gives them something to talk about,” he says. And the numbers are growing. The fantasy sport franchise gains roughly 1 billion dollars per year, and their participant count is still on the rise.

For the love of the game Among these participants is junior Alex Epstein. He likes that fantasy football makes participants focus on individual football players rather than just general team performance. “Usually I only pay attention to the Redskins,” he says, sporting a vivid Redskins jersey. “But for fantasy football I have to pay attention to the rest of the league.” Senior Walter Araujo, a returning fantasy football player, thinks kids play to show off. “Kids want bragging rights,” he states, “they want to show they know the most about football.” But Bregstone just sees the game as a good time. “It gets really intense,” he says enthusiastically. “It definitely gets me more into football.” Even if he doesn’t win, Colbert believes his first year of fantasy football will be a success. “I decided to play this year because everyone played last year and it seemed kind of fun. I like it and I’ll probably play again next year,” he says. “We’re even thinking about doing fantasy basketball.”

EVA SHEN


F2 Sports

silverchips

October 5, 2012

Nothing to gain from playing through the pain MCPS concussion guidelines are necessary to prevent long-term brain damage

By Dillon Sebastian In the 1980’s when athletes took a blow the treatment was a single phrase from the coach: “Shake it off, you’re good.” Now, in the 21st century those words are not enough to prevent athletes from serious, life-changing injuries. Recently, ten-year studies regarding the consequences of concussions were released, showing that intense care is necessary in treating an athlete who has suffered a hit to the head. “Doctors are more cautious [since] the effects are proven to be long-lasting,” says Blair’s athletic director, Rita Boulé. As a result, MCPS has created a much-needed set of concussion guidelines to protect athletes from long-term brain injury. With the new rules regarding concussions, MCPS athletes are guaranteed to lead healthy and safe athletic lives. Blair JV football coach, Adrian Kelly said that to ensure that the brain is fully restored, MCPS has mandated that if any athlete shows symptoms of a head injury, such as dizziness, the athlete’s parents must be notified, he or she must receive a doc- tor’s clearance form and the athlete must be monitored for one week after they return to play. When the growing brain of a high school student is hit, it needs months of rest before it is back to 100 percent functioning and should

not continue to engage in strenuous activity. The required and strict process an athlete is required to go through after getting hit on the head once, however, causes athletes to brush off bumps that should be taken seriously. A hit to the head is never good, but ignoring that hit and getting hit again is even worse. On some occasions the hit could be more than worse; it could be life changing. “A minor concussion could become major with one more hit,” says Boulé. When the head gets hit, the sodium-potassium pump in the brain has to work extra hard to restore the natural membrane potential of the brain. During this process, if the brain is boggled once more, work done by the sodiumpotassium pump will be wiped away, causing serious longlasting effects to the brain, according to a student study conducted at Concordia College in Montreal. For this reason along with influence from the NFL, the MCPS concussion guidelines require that once a small hit occurs, the full recovery process must be instituted. In 2007, the NFL created a series of steps an athlete undergoing concussion recovery must take before he returns to play. These steps included neurological testing, and

interceptions and was unable to face any type of light. The NFL concluded that the concussion policy must be enhanced. So did MCPS.

On t h e other hand, Kelly said that

MARGARET MCCLAIN

by 2011 the NFL had expanded its policy to include extra testing, fines for illegal hits and one-on-one analysis. Policies created by the NFL were sparked by a serious hit on the field during a Browns game in 2011. The quarterback Colt McCoy was a victim of a helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked him unconscious, but was put back in the game two plays later. McCoy proceeded to throw two

the new precautions have had a large impact on teams and have placed a burden on them because of how easily a player can be ejected from the game. “Ninety percent of players who receive concussions on the football team are starters,” says Kelly. Their absence typically causes minor disruptions to the team’s dynamic and strategy; however, keeping a player out for one game because of a hit is better

than risking it and being out for the whole season, or for life. While it is important to have strict policies addressing concussions that occur during sports, the real solution will come from concussion prevention. As a result, MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr is considering implementing a district-wide baseline screening test for all high school athletes. The test would determine where the athletes fall in regards to brain functionality, so when a hit does occur, it will be easier to determine how severe the concussion is. With money and time in question, the MCPS Board of Education may slide this proposal to the bottom of their list of priorities, however, the severity concussions should of be an indicator that this testing could save an athlete’s career and life. Even further in advance, MCPS coaches and referees are required to watch videos on the proper, safe ways to tackle a player in football and schools are required to purchase and refurbish the proper equipment, such as football helmets and pads. The precautions taken by MCPS regarding concussion policies on and off the field and before and after the hit are more than necessary to ensure a safe and fun game for athletes and coaches.


silverchips

October 5, 2012

Sports

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Fall Sports Update By: Kyle Desiderio Photos By: Leila Bartholet, Leah Hammond Ellie Muskgave, Mimi Sim And zeke wapner Field Hockey

This is a season of change for the varsity field hockey team (5-2), gaining new coach, Candace Thurman from Walter Johnson and a large junior class. Senior captain Zoe McCarthy believes that the new coach will be a big factor in helping the team to improve from a disappointing 4-9 season last year. “She has a very personal method for coaching,” McCarthy says, “It brings the best out of all of us.” The main focus this year is improving the offensive game. “Coming on the ball and acting on opportunities in transition,” says McCarthy. The first game was evidence of this problem, with lady Blazers scoring only one goal in each of their first two games against two their most powerful opponents of the season: Walter Johnson and Blake. However, against Einstein on September 12th, the practice finally paid off, and the team scored six goals for their first win against the Titans. The team has built off of that victory, winning two more games including a nail-biter against Paint Branch where junior Temi Ibirogba scored the go-ahead goal in the final minute to win 2-1. Players to watch for: Jenny Beach, Emma Strongin

Boy’s Soccer

The boys’ varsity team (3-2), who had a very successful 11 win season last year and traveled to the regional semi-finals, are looking to turn that experience into a trip to the state finals. This season will be different from last, Coach John Haigh says, due to the fact that the team is smaller than last year’s. “We’re playing a different style this year and focusing on the possession game,” Haigh says. He cites ball handling is one of the teams’ strengths, making possession an easy task for the team. The team has been marred by injuries early on in the season, with juniors Komlan Kouhiko and Franklin Rivas, and senior Stallon Ndauala all succumbing to in-game injuries. The Blazers will rely on their strong returning core, highlighted by seniors Simon Amato and Jeffey Martinez. This leadership and the lessons that veterans can bring from last year’s domination will be vital for the Blazers if they hope to repeat their successful performance. The team rebounded from their close loss to soccer powerhouse Quince Orchard with a win against B-CC and hope to use the momentum to earn victories and use a much easier secondhalf schedule to their advantage. Players to watch for: Donald Benamna, Jeffey Martienez

Cross County

The girls’ Cross Country team (Boys: 2-1 Girls: 2-0) last year had a breakout season after going to states for the first time in 10 years and this season are looking to build on that success with another powerful season. Junior captain Morgana D’Ottavi and her team are determined to continue this winning trend. “We did great last year and we want to get better,” she says. D’Ottavi plans to build on the group’s momentum by highlighting the team aspect of the sport and emphasize cooperation between teammates. Improving team chemistry D’Ottavi believes will help push runners at the end of races. “Working as a team in practice and meets are important,” she says. The girls were very successful in their first meet placing both eighth and eleventh. The boys’ team struggled, however D’Ottavi believes that a young boys’ team just needs to grow. “The boys’ team lost their best runners,” she says. Freshman Alex Mangiafico however, displayed great potential, placing first place at the Sandy Spring time trials. The toughest competition this year for the team will be Wooton and B-CC, but they are not nervous, as the team has had a red-hot start, with both boys and girls beating Gaithersburg with ease. Players to watch for: Michael Ekstrom, Sara Shonkwiler

Girl’s Tennis

The girls’ tennis team (2-3) lost many of its best players last year but also gained a significant number of new players, changing the focus of the team to the building of young talent. Senior captain Allison Whitney is looking forward to the season and refining the skills of new players. She believes listening to Coach David Ngeba during practice will be a very important factor in whether the Blazers have a successful season. “He spots mistakes and tells us what to work on,” Whitney says. Blair’s biggest loss was in the doubles department with five out of six players leaving. Last year, the doubles team was the backbone of the team and the main reason Blair was able to stay in Division I. Rebounding from the loss and creating a strong doubles lineup will be vital if the team is to be successful. So far, the team has had a mixed start, but their domination of a strong Blake team on September 15th, which concluded with a victory of seven matches to zero, has been the highlight of the season. A strong performance on a tough team (4-1 at the time) proves that Blazers new and old are not to be underestimated. Players to watch for: Camila Arias, Leslie Chen

Girl’s Soccer

SPORTS (from top to bottom) Field Hockey’s junior Dilon Sebastian, Blair soccer’s senior Elizabeth Billings, and football’s junior Raymond Burtnick

The girls’ varsity soccer team (3-4-1) has a lot to live up to this season as they look to maintain a division championship title and to travel deep into the playoffs. The team took a big hit on defense, loosing six defensive players from last season, but Coach Robert Gibb believes that the team is able to compensate for the loss through other strengths. “The team can move the ball quickly and do game changing things,” Gibb says. With the loss of many seniors, Gibb feels that the team just needs time to gel and get used to playing with each other. Their inexperience playing together however, was apparent in their first two games, losing to both B-CC and Quince Orchard. “We play our hardest games right off the bat,” Gibb says. “In our first game we produced a lot of shots,” he says; yet even with the multitude of shots, the Blazers’ simply had a problem getting the ball in the back of the net. Gibb blames the players’ poor presence on the scoreboard to forcing extra passes. Despite both losses, Gibb believes that the team played well and eventually things will go the Blazer’s way, which judging by last year’s powerhouse status and the return of several key players is still possible. Players to watch for: Anja Opsahl, Lisa Bianchini, Delia Trimble

(From top to bottom) Blair Girl’s Volleyball, Blair soccer’s senior Simon Amato, girl’s tennis’s sophomore Camila Arias


sportsCHIPS

October 5, 2012 silverchips.mbhs.edu/section/sports.php

ashington Nationals unite blair alumni By Josh Schmidt Photos by Leah Hammond

PLAY BALL Alumni reunite and share memories of Blair while spending time at Blair Day at Nationals Park. Bottom left: George and Jimmy Cooney, two generations of Blair alumni, recall their long history with Blair, as well as some of their favorite pranks. run home runs in the fourth inning. The game is especially meaningful for those who have been suffering for years through the failures of Washington baseball. Tom Brown (’58), who played for the Washington Senators in 1963, says he believes that the Washington resurgence is important to many of the alumni. “[It’s] really neat. We’ve all suffered together, those of us who follow baseball,” says Brown. Blazers now and forever

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ection 203 erupts with cheers for Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper. Today, many in the crowd remember when they were just a bit younger than Harper and students at Montgomery Blair High School. Harper, just 19 years old, is only a little older than many of the day’s gathered Blair Alumni were when they were seniors at old Blair High. On Saturday, September 22 at Nationals Stadium, nearly 100 alumni came together from graduation classes ranging from 1946 through 1999 to stay in touch and to watch the postseason bound Nationals take on the Milwaukee Brewers. The event, “Blair at the Park” was organized and executed by Blair Alumni Association President Mark Levin (‘66). Levin initially did not have big expectations for the event. “If it had been 25 people I’d have been happy, 100 people ended up signing up though,” says Levin.

Back in the day The festivities start with a pregame party in which many of the alumni mill around eating burgers and talking with former peers. Discussions range from the Nationals ascent to memories of old Blair. Two brothers and a friend from the class of ’65 laugh as they recount a time in which they stole four bushels of crabs from a local harbor and scattered the crabs in school toilets, water fountains and cheerleaders’ lockers. This same group shares memories of skipping class every Friday of senior year, getting lost and

hopping a freight train back to school. They look back fondly on their years at Blair, noting that as the school’s troublemakers, they did not spend much time worrying about academics. These kinds of conversations are not uncommon at alumni events, which Levin says are held once every few years. Many Blair alumni meet up with one another regularly outside of the organized events as well. Lorin Sarbacher (‘65) and Ginny Morris (’65) meet up with “ten or twelve” of their friends every few months to eat dinner and keep in touch. “It’s like a family. It’s people we’ve known as long as our siblings. I went to elementary school with [Lorin],” Morris says. Throughout the event, former Blazers praise Levin for the work he has done in organizing alumni events. Jerry Ricucci (’62) regularly attends Levin’s events and appreciates Levin’s dedication to alumni. “It’s great. He’s done a lot with the Association. I was just at a reunion and now I’m here,” Ricucci says. Homerun in their hometown As the national anthem marks the start of the game, Blair alumni file out into Section 203 where the usher informs the crowd that he was an alumnus of Blair’s down-the-road rival, Northwood High School. The group is as enthusiastic as any cheering for the Nationals as they witness their hometown team rack up nine runs across the third and fourth inning. The crowd grows more excited when Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond each hit three

While the Nationals have been on an upward trend since these Blair students graduated, Blair sports themselves have not seen such improvement. Ricucci recounts the golden days of Blair athletics, speaking fondly of when Blair was the state champion in football, basketball and baseball in 1962. Ricucci, who played on the champion football and baseball teams and follows current Blair athletics, says he hopes to see Blair return to its former glory. Several former professional athletes, trained and cheered on at Blair, sit in the stands. Brown played for five years in the NFL, and Surbacher played in the minor league system of the Senators at third base. Dave Dickson (’62) did not go pro, but still loves talking about his experience on the Blair rifle team. “I absolutely loved it. And look, none of us became criminals,” Dickson says. Rifling may no longer be a sport, but Dickson says that he would most certainly advocate for bringing it back. One of the best moments of the evening comes when Jimmy Cooney (’99) speaks of his family’s connection to Blair. Jimmy’s father, George Cooney (’56), attended Blair, as did his grandparents who met at Blair and his great-grandfather who taught at Blair. While the Cooney’s and many other alumni watch the game, conversation about their favorite teachers, stories and pranks can still be heard over the cheers of the crowd. The connections built so many years ago in Blair classrooms continue to grow strong at a good game of baseball in the nation’s capital.

insideSPORTS Fall sports update See page F3 A look at six of Blair’s spring sports teams, including the soccer teams and our improved field hockey team.

Fantasy football See page F1 A growing population of students and teachers at Blair are playing fantsay football. Why do they do it?

October 2012 - Silver Chips Print  

October 2012 edition of Silver Chips Print

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